The Tochigi Golden Braves of the independent Baseball Challenge League confirmed Thursday that former Yokohama BayStars pitcher Yujo Kitagata has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers on a minor league deal.
Kitagata, who signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers as a free agent on May 8, was the BayStars’ first pick in the 2011 draft but never played for the top team during his time with the club.
The Saga Prefecture native joined the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on a developmental contract in 2014, but left the team the following year before landing in the independent league.
“I wanted to play baseball at the top level so I was happy to get the invitation,” Kitagata said earlier this month. “I want to prepare well so I don’t have any regrets.”
The 25-year-old right-hander, who throws a fastball around 150 kph, joins the same franchise as former Hiroshima Carp ace Kenta Maeda, who has been a fixture in the Dodgers starting rotation since making his major league debut in 2016.