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Yankees sign Hideki Okajima

The Yankees have signed former Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima to a minor league contract. The lefty reliever, who turned 36 on Dec. 25, appeared in only seven games for the Red Sox last season, none after May 9.

Okajima was outstanding for the Red Sox for two seasons after coming over from Japan. He had a 2.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 2007 and ‘08 and averaged 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

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His decline started in 2009 and never stopped. Okajima has a 3.90 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP over the last three seasons.

Okajima pitched well for Pawtucket last season, posting a 2.29 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.

But scouts attributed that largely to his deceptive delivery, one that major league hitters started to figure out. That left Okajima’s 87-miles per hour fastball much more hittable than it was in 2007 and ‘08.

Lefties always get a second, third, and fourth chance. Okajima will join, among others, former Red Sox prospect Cesar Cabral (a Rule 5 pick) in Yankees camp trying to make the team as a second lefty reliever behind Boone Logan.

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