The Boston Red Sox agreed on Tuesday, February 16th to a 2 year contract with right-handed pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura, with a dual club/player option for the 2023 season.

To make room for Sawamura on the 40 man roster, the Boston Red Sox designated left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Springs for assignment

Sawamura, 32, spent the last 10 years pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for the Yomiuri Giants (2011-20) and Chiba Lotte Marines (2020). The right-hander went 48-52 with 75 saves, four shutouts, a 2.77 ERA (267 ER/868.1 IP), 790 strikeouts, and only 66 home runs allowed (0.68 HR/9.0 IP) in 352 appearances (88 starts). The 2011 Central League Rookie of the Year was a member of Japan’s 2013 World Baseball Classic team, appearing in four games and allowing one run in 3.1 innings. Sawamura began his career as a starting pitcher but transitioned to a full-time reliever in 2015, recording 36 saves that season before leading the Central League with 37 in 2016. After making 13 appearances with Yomiuri in 2020, his final 22 outings came with Chiba Lotte, for whom he posted a 1.71 ERA (4 ER/21.0 IP) with 29 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP.

Sawamura becomes the 9th player born in Japan to play for the Red Sox, joining outfielder Dave Roberts (2004) and pitchers Tomo Ohka (1999-2001), Hideo Nomo (2001), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007-12), Hideki Okajima (2007-11), Takashi Saito (2009), Junichi Tazawa (2009, ’11-16), and Koji Uehara (2013-16).

The Red Sox begin Spring Training games on Sunday, February 28th and open the season on Thursday, April 1st. Hear the Spring Training games and regular season games on 101.9 The Rock.

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