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Now a knuckleballer, Tomo Ohka reportedly has a minor league deal with the Blue Jays

Dec 11, 2013, 11:34 PM EDT

Tomo Ohka Getty Getty Images

The Blue Jays already have one knuckleballer with 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey and it sounds like they are about to add another one to the mix.

Shi Davidi of reports that the Blue Jays have reached a verbal agreement on a minor league contract with Tomo Ohka, who has reinvented himself as a knuckleballer since he last appeared in the majors in 2009. The expectation is that he’ll begin the year with Double-A New Hampshire.

Ohka, now 37, had a 4.26 ERA over 10 seasons in the majors from 1999-2009 while making stops with the Red Sox, Expos, Nationals, Brewers, Blue Jays and Indians. He returned to Japan to pitch for the Yokohama Bay Stars from 2010-2011 before requiring shoulder surgery. MLB Trade Rumors relayed a story from last month that Ohka has been developing his knuckler ever since and came to the United States in October to begin training.

If Ohka is going to make a comeback as a knuckleballer, he might as well be as close to Dickey as possible. It should be a fun story to monitor in 2014.

  1. spudchukar - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Is Canada the new home to knuckle ball appreciation?

    • ptfu - Dec 12, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      Home of the Canuckleball!

      • spudchukar - Dec 12, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        Yep, advise the OED.

  2. Gilbert - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Here’s hoping Esteban Yan joins him.

  3. meatcarroll - Dec 12, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    His name is Tomokazu Ohka, get it right.

    • Bryz - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      And his nickname is Tomo. When the news first came out last night, I saw three different people used “Tomo,” and only one person used “Tomokazu.”

      That one was myself. Get over it.

  4. shanabartels - Dec 12, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    I’m disappointed the one Japanese knuckleballer I really want to see get a contract in affiliated ball hasn’t made it to that point yet. I’m still rooting for you, Eri Yoshida. Who says you need to have a Y chromosome to play baseball anyway?

  5. baseballisboring - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    I’m definitely gonna go watch a start of his if he does start at AA…the Fisher Cats stadium is like ten minutes from my house.

  6. spudchukar - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:46 PM


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