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Red Sox near deal with Japanese left-hander Itsuki Shoda

Feb 12, 2011, 8:59 AM EST

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Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Nikkan Sports report which says the Red Sox are expected to sign Japanese left-hander Itsuki Shoda to a minor league contract.

Alex Speier of WEEI.com translates the report, where Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is quoted as saying a deal is near completion and that Shoda will report to minor league camp.

Shoda, 29, won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2002 after going 9-11 with a 3.45 ERA as a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, but has had a difficult time replicating his early success. He was eventually traded to the Hanshin Tigers following the 2006 season, where he spent two seasons in the minor leagues. The southpaw has spent the past two seasons in Taiwan as a member of the Sinon Bulls. He went 11-5 with a 2.81 ERA last season, striking out 116 batters over 166 1/3 innings. As Speier notes, he is regarded as a curveball specialist.

  1. uyf1950 - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:03 AM

    I was originally going to post some smart and witty comments about the above piece and the Red Sox, then I was tempted to post something along the lines are where are all those poster that like to pepper the Yankee blog when they sign or attempt to sign a player like this. But I decided against that tact.
    I will merely ask/say I don’t understand the Red Sox interest in this guy. It’s not like the Red Sox have a lot to show for their other expenditures on Japanese players. They have by my latest count either 8 or 9 players already assigned to their ML roster for 2011 in relief pitcher rolls. So even though this guy is being courted by the Red Sox to a minor league deal he turned 29 in the beginning of November. He will be closer to 30 then to 29 by the time the ML season starts. It doesn’t look like he will provide any value to the Red Sox anywhere in the system. I just don’t see the rational.

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