Former Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura will take his talents back to Japan.
The right-hander is set to pitch in Nippon Professional Baseball, where Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida previously played. Sawamura reportedly signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines, according to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.
Sawamura, who spent the last two seasons with the Red Sox, made 104 appearances out of the bullpen and pitched to a 3.39 ERA and a 6-2 record. The 34-year-old complied his strongest campaign in 2021 when he made his Major League Baseball debut. He made 55 appearances, notched five wins and registered a 3.06 ERA with 61 strikeouts through 53 innings pitched.
This past September, the Red Sox severed ties with Sawamura and released him after Boston initially designated him for assignment on Aug. 29. Sawamura’s strikeout rate, which stood at 26.3% in 2021, dropped to 18.1% in 2022.
In 2011, Sawamura began his professional baseball career in NBP. Through nine seasons, which were predominantly spent with the Yomiuri Giants, Sawamura pitched in 352 games — including 88 starts — with a 2.77 ERA in 868 1/3 innings.
Sawamura will turn 35 years old in April.