Forum Spin Doctor
BOSTON - The Red Sox agreed to a contract with a Japanese pitcher - no, not that one.
In the midst of negotiations with potential ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox agreed Thursday to a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima worth about $2.5 million.
The 30-year-old Okajima was 2-2 with a career-low 2.14 ERA and four saves in 55 games last season with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Pacific League. He was traded to the Fighters in March after 11 seasons with the Central League's Yomiuri Giants, then became a free agent after the season.
In 439 Japanese major league games, he is 34-32 with a 3.36 ERA and 41 saves.
Boston has until Dec. 14 to sign Matsuzaka, the ace of the Seibu Lions and MVP of this year's World Baseball Classic. The Red Sox bid $51,111,111 for the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka but pay only if they sign him.