• Kyodo


Right-hander Kazuhisa Makita said Wednesday he aims to make the most of his submarine pitching in the majors when he moves to the San Diego Padres after seven seasons with the Seibu Lions.

“I’m relieved that I finally have a team,” Makita told a press conference at the Nippon Professional Baseball club’s office in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo. “There are not many submarine pitchers, so I want to make full use of my advantage.

“The Padres are not an exceptionally strong team, but there are many young players, so it’s a rewarding team to play for,” said Makita, adding that the major league side is expecting to use him as a reliever.

The Padres announced Saturday they had signed a two-year contract with the 33-year-old through the posting system. Makita became the second player, after Shohei Ohtani, to use the auction-style player transfer system during the offseason.

Makita has agreed to an annual salary of $1.9 million, but can additionally earn up to $250,000 each year as a performance bonus based on games played, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Makita said the Texas Rangers were also interested in acquiring him, but that the decisive factor was the Padres’ environment. A pair of Japanese former big league pitchers, Hideo Nomo and Takashi Saito, work respectively as an adviser to the team and in its front office.

“There are many things that I’m not aware of, so it means so much to me to be able to get support. I thought the Padres offered a good environment,” Makita said.

Makita joined Seibu in 2011 and was the Pacific League’s rookie of the year after the Lions took him with their second pick in the 2010 draft. His versatility allowed the Lions to use him as a starter, reliever and closer in his seven years with the club.

The Lions will receive a roughly $500,000 posting fee from the Padres, according to a baseball source.

Makita has 53 wins, 49 losses, and 25 saves with a 2.83 ERA in 276 games in his career.

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