red sox sign pitcher junichi tazawa

Last week, the Boston Red Sox signed their third pitcher from Japan, adding right-handed amateur Junichi Tazawa to their roster, which also includes Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima: BoSox finalize $3.3M deal with Japanese RHP Tazawa.

The team signed Tazawa with a $3.3 million, three-year deal... and probably just boosted the Red Sox's already-huge popularity in Japan through the roof. Last spring, the club opened its season with two games against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo.

Tazawa, 22, played four years for Nippon Oil of the Japan Industrial League. He was 13-1 with 5 saves and a 0.80 ERA this season in 21 games, 11 of them starts, striking out 114 batters and walking 15 over 113 innings and pitching four shutouts.

Tazawa is expected to begin next season in Double-A Portland, where he'll be groomed for a spot in the rotation, but could soon join his Japanese countrymen with the big club. We'll just have to see what happens next spring.

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