Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Fighters ship outfielder Hiromi Oka to Marines for lefty pitcher Takahiro Fujioka

Kyodo

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters have traded outfielder Hiromi Oka to the Chiba Lotte Marines in exchange for left-handed pitcher Takahiro Fujioka, the teams announced Thursday.

In another trade announced the same day, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks sent left-handed pitcher Yuya Iida to the Hanshin Tigers for right-hander Ryoma Matsuda.

The 27-year-old Oka, who has played in 245 games in five seasons for the Fighters, will provide the Marines with outfield depth following an injury to Takashi Ogino. The All-Star center fielder is expected to be out for at least another month after breaking his right index finger on July 9.

Fujioka, the Marines’ top draft pick in 2011, failed to cement a spot in the starting rotation and since 2015 has been primarily used out of the bullpen. This season he has focused on working as a starter but has yet to pitch for first team.

“I’m really surprised,” Fujioka said in a comment released by the Marines. “I’m grateful for all Lotte has done for me these past six-and-a-half years.”

The Hawks-Tigers trade saw both players moving closer to home. The 24-year-old Matsuda, a native of Nagasaki Prefecture returns to Kyushu, while the 27-year-old Iida will be returning to Hyogo Prefecture, where he played his high school ball.

Iida has pitched in 97 career games for the Hawks, but has appeared in just one game this season.

Matsuda has 111 games under his belt but has not pitched on the first team this season.

Also Thursday, the Seibu Lions announced the acquisition of right-hander Kyle Martin from a Boston Red Sox minor league affiliate.

Martin was mainly a reliever this season for Triple-A Pawtucket, where he carried a 3.33 ERA and went 3-2 with a save in 30 games.

The 27-year-old pitched in two games for the Red Sox in 2017 and received a non-roster invitation to their spring training this year.