Los Angeles – The Boston Red Sox have signed right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura on a two-year contract, the American League club announced Tuesday.
The deal is worth $3 million over the two years, with an option for a third year, according to U.S. media reports.
The 32-year-old Sawamura, who finished last season with the Chiba Lotte Marines, following a trade from the Yomiuri Giants, exercised his right as a free agent to seek a move to the majors.
The Red Sox, who are overhauling their roster after finishing last in the AL East in the shortened 2020 season, view Sawamura as a potential key piece of their bullpen.
The Tochigi Prefecture native is the latest in a line of Japanese pitchers to make the move to Boston’s historic Fenway Park.
Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima contributed to Boston’s 2007 World Series victory, while Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa helped the club win it again in 2013.
Sawamura joined Yomiuri in 2011 and was named the Central League Rookie of the Year after winning 11 games as a starter. He became a closer in 2015 and led the league with 37 saves the following year.
He lost the job as the Giants’ closer after missing all of the 2017 season due to a shoulder issue.
In 22 games with the Marines last year, Sawamura was 0-2 with one save, and 13 holds. He struck out 29 batters in 21 innings, with a 1.71 ERA.
Sawamura is 48-52 with 75 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 352 career games.
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