Pending a physical left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima will sign a Minor League contract with the Oakland Athletics with an invite to spring training where he’ll get the chance to make the big league roster. If he makes it he’ll join Sean Doolittle, Jordan Norberto and Jerry Blevins in the bullpen.
Okajima spent five seasons with the Boston Red Sox and had his best season in his rookie year of 2007 when he pitched in 66 games, had a record of 3-2 with a 2.22 era, five saves, threw 69 innings and struck out 63 while walking 17. Overall he pitched in 261 games, with a 17-8 record, a 3.11 era, six saves and has struck out 215 while walking 86.
He’s also pitched well in the postseason as he’s got an era of 2.11 in 17 appearances, thrown 21.1 innings and struck out 16 and walked five.
Last season he nearly signed with the New York Yankees and did not join the team due to a failed physical. So, instead played in Japan for Fukuoka and dominated. Ended up with a record of 0-2 in 56 games, saved nine games, threw 47.2 innings and struck out 36 and walked six.
Even if Okajima ends up in the minors to start the season the A’s will have depth as Doolittle is still learning how to pitch and Norberto struggled with injuries in 2012. Just another example another shrewd move by A’s general manager Billy Beane.