• Kyodo


Former Yomiuri Giants and Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Toru Murata has signed with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, the team announced Friday.

Murata is currently playing winter ball in Venezuela, where local media reported Sunday that the 31-year-old pitcher will attempt a comeback in Japan.

“I quickly heard from the Fighters, and I decided to join them after hearing how much they thought of me,” Murata said in a statement released by the club.

The Giants’ first-round pick in the 2007 corporate and collegiate league draft, Murata was released by Yomiuri after three seasons without a first-team appearance. He began playing in the Indians system in 2011, and was called up to make an emergency start in the majors on June 28, 2015.

Murata pitched in 33 games this season for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, going 9-4 with a 3.78 ERA and four saves.

“He’s a pitcher that we simply wanted to acquire,” Fighters skipper Hideki Kuriyama said. “I believe he could earn a spot in our starting rotation.”

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