Posted on January 28, 2013

Notes: Juan Rivera to Yankees, Hideki Okajima Eyeing a Return to MLB?

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Hideki Okajima, the 37-year old Japanese left-handed reliever who pitched well for the Red Sox between 2007-2011, was released by the Softbank Hawks, fueling speculation that he’s considering a return to American baseball. 

Susan Slusser reported that the A’s are apparently thinking about signing him. Okajima suffered an arm injury last season that made his minor-league deal with the Yankees fall through, but rebounded well, posting a 0.94 ERA and 6.8 K/9 figures in 2012 while with Softbank. If he can do anything like that here and reclaim the talents he showed with the Red Sox, he’d inevitably end up being a steal for the A’s bullpen.

In other news, the Yankees and outfielder/DH/1B Juan Rivera have agreed to a minor league deal. The 34-year old Rivera played with the Dodgers last season but his 2013 option was denied by the club. There’s no guarantee Rivera will make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, but if he turns in a strong Spring it’s anyone’s guess what happens. 

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