Yankees sign Japanese lefty Naoya OkamotoBy
Via the great NPB Tracker, the Yankees have signed Japanese southpaw Naoya Okamoto to a minor league contract. The 27-year-old started his career by pitching sparingly for the Yokohama Bay Stars, but spent 2010 in the Mexican League. His overall numbers on the season are underwhelming (17.2 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 11 BB, 12 K, 2 HR), though he did hold lefthanded batters to a cool .000 batting average (yes, super small sample).
The Yanks have a strong presence in Mexico and have enjoyed a ton of success there recently (Al Aceves, Manny Banuelos), so I’m certain they see something here. If nothing else, Okamoto is just another piece of minor league inventory, a depth move, but at best he’s a future option as a lefty specialist. And, you know, if the Yanks manage to acquire Yu Darvish this winter, Okamoto can be his friend (/Michael Kay latent racism’d).