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Orioles sign left-hander Hideki Okajima to minor league deal

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima of Japan throws to the Minnesota Twins during the 10th inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday, May 9, 2011.
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima of Japan throws to the Minnesota Twins during the 10th inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday, May 9, 2011. (Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

The Orioles have signed Japanese left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal, according to an industry source.

The deal with Okajima, who turned 40 in December, does not include a major league spring training invitation. He will report to the Orioles' minor league camp in Sarasota.

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Okajima pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 2007 to 2011, serving as the setup man on Boston's World Series champion team in 2007. That season, he also made the American League All-Star team when he was selected by fan vote. He pitched to a 2.22 ERA with 27 holds and five saves that season.

He went 17-8 with a 3.09 ERA in 266 relief appearances over parts of five seasons with the Red Sox, but he has only pitched four major league innings since the 2011 season, all of them in a brief stint with Oakland in 2013.

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He has spent three of his past four seasons pitching in Japan, most recently with the Yokahama Bay Stars of the Japanese Central League in 2015. He was 0-2 with an 8.59 ERA in just 7 1/3 relief innings.

Okajima will likely compete for a bullpen spot at Triple-A Norfolk this spring.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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