Veteran pitcher Igarashi joins Hawks


The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks said Friday they have acquired former major leaguer Ryota Igarashi on a three-year deal that will pay the right-hander an estimated annual salary of up to ¥200 million.

The 33-year-old Igarashi, who will return to Japan after playing three years in the big leagues, will hold a news conference for his official unveiling on Saturday. Igarashi is part of the team’s plan to add depth to its bullpen.

“I’ve heard he’s been able to perfect a style with his breaking pitches never seen before,” said Softbank scouting officer Shigeru Ishiwata. “He still has a lot of velocity.”

The Chiba native pitched in his last game in the majors in a relief appearance for the New York Yankees at Toronto where he allowed three runs and three hits in two innings on Aug. 12.

Igarashi joined the Yakult Swallows in 1998 and was the Central League leader with 37 saves in 2004. He joined the New York Mets in 2010 and made 34 appearances, pitching another 45 times in relief for the Mets in 2011.

He spent parts of the 2012 season with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Yankees, but was limited to just four games after beginning the year in the minors. Igarashi has a 5-2 record with a 6.41 ERA in 83 major league games.