The latest addition to the roster of the Oakland A’s is reliever Hideki Okajima, who was signed to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training earlier today.
Okajima arrived in Arizona today and spoke to the media via a translator.
He spent five seasons (2007-2011) as a reliever for the Boston Red Sox, and played in Japan in 2012.
However, he is still puzzled as to how he failed his physical with the Yankees before last season. Apparently there was an issue with his left shoulder, but Okajima claims he has never had a problem with his shoulder.
At age 37, Okajima thought is major-league career was over once the physical was failed, but he pitcher brilliantly in Japan last season and earned himself a contract in Oakland.
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.
The A’s now have an absolutely stacked bullpen, which should look like this come opening day, in no particular order:
- Grant Balfour
- Travis Blackley
- Jerry Blevins
- Ryan Cook
- Sean Doolittle
- Pat Neshek
- Jordan Norberto
- Chris Resop
- Hideki Okajima
- Evan Scribner
There may some other names in the mix, but the bottom line is that the A’s are loaded in their bullpen, bolstered by the signing of Okajima.