March 6, 2011; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Hideki Okajima (37) during a spring training exhibition game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. The Mets defeated the Red Sox 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Report: A's Close to Signing Hideki Okajima

When Billy Beane says he’s done making changes to the roster, he never really is done.

The A’s are closing in on a deal to sign relief pitcher Hideki Okajima, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.

In fact, a Bay Area sports anchor named Mike Furutani is leaving KSBW to act as Okajima’s translator, further implying that Okajima will be in Oakland shortly.

Okajima spent five seasons (2007-2011) as a reliever for the Boston Red Sox, and played in Japan in 2012.

After spending 13 years pitching in Japan, Okajima signed with the Red Sox and made an immediate impact.

He had a 3-2 record with a 2.22 ERA in 69 innings during his rookie season as Boston’s setup man. He was chosen as an All-Star in his first season and finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

However, his stats have tailed off in recent seasons. In 2010, he recorded a career-high 4.50 ERA, and pitched just 8.1 innings in 2011 before being designated for assignment.

The Yankees briefly signed Okajima, but a failed physical resulted in his release.

According to NBC Sports, Okajiami did not allow a run in his first 46 innings with the Softbank Hawks in Japan in 2012.

The A’s have already upgraded their bullpen this off-season by signing the veteran Chris Resop. Adding Okajima into the mix can only be beneficial.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Hideki Okajima Oakland Athletics

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