ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Kyodo) Cleveland Indians reliever Masahide Kobayashi, who was cut from the 40-man roster on Saturday, has accepted assignment with Triple-A Columbus, the Indians said Sunday.

Kobayashi was removed to make room for starter David Huff and had the option of accepting demotion to the minor leagues or being released as a free agent.

Kobayashi’s success story as one of the most productive closers in Japan when he played for the Chiba Lotte Marines has not translated well to this side of the Pacific.

Cleveland was banking on Kobayashi, who compiled 227 saves over nine seasons with Lotte, to deliver after signing him to a two-year, $6.25 million contract but things have not worked out as hoped.

In his first season in 2008, he finished with a 4-5 record with six saves in 57 games. He has nothing to show for this season except an inflated 8.38 ERA in 10 games.

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