Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Swallows bring veteran reliever Ryota Igarashi back into fold

Kyodo

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows said Wednesday the Central League club will acquire former major league reliever Ryota Igarashi, who was released by the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks last month.

Akimitsu Ito, the Swallows’ head of player personnel, said the 2018 Central League runner-up hopes the 39-year-old right-hander will upgrade the relief corps with his middle relief experience.

Igarashi turned pro out of high school with the Swallows in 1998, and was named the CL’s most valuable relief pitcher in 2004, when he saved 37 games.

He joined the Hawks in 2013 following stints with the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees between 2010-2012. This past season, he pitched 20 innings in 23 games with a 4.50 ERA.

In the majors, he went 5-2 with a 6.41 ERA in 83 games. He has a 60-38 record over his career in Japan with a 2.93 ERA and 70 saves in 777 games.