I made a post about this a couple days back and then received the following press release from the Gary SouthShore RailCats last night.
Roster Shuffle Includes Addition of Former Japanese Major Leaguer
GARY, Ind. — A former pitcher in the Japanese Major Leagues will play in America for the first time, and it will be in a RailCats uniform. Right-hander Takahiro Matsuka has agreed to terms with the RailCats.
Matsuka, 30, spent part of the 2009 season with the Yokohama Bay Stars in the Japan Central League and appeared in the Japan Pacific League with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2010. In 14 career relief appearances at Japan’s highest level, Matsuka was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 22 innings.
The rest of his career has been spent in the minor league systems of those two organizations, including the last two years with the Ham Fighters minor league clubs. In 2012, Matsuka was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 15 innings covering 16 appearances. Matsuka will be traveling overseas from his hometown of Takamatsu, Kagawa.
The RailCats also announced the signing of outfielder Drew Martinez, a former Los Angeles Angels prospect. Martinez was selected by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2011 draft and spent two seasons in the organization, reaching Class A. Last season, Martinez batted .259 with 19 RBI and 37 runs scored in 58 games between the Angels’ Rookie and Class A affiliates. He was 17-for-20 in stolen base attempts.
Martinez, 24, hit .267 with a .357 on-base percentage as a rookie in 2011. The Collierville, Tenn., native was a two-time Second-Team All-Conference USA selection during his three-year career at Memphis. His father, Chito, was the first Belizean-born player to reach Major League Baseball and played for the Baltimore Orioles from 1991-’93.
The 'Cats also traded outfielder Trevor Willis to the Schaumburg Boomers in the Frontier League as part of a three-team deal. The RailCats will receive a player to be named later from the Rockford Aviators, another Frontier League club. Willis batted .283 with a .411 on-base percentage in 18 games with the RailCats in 2012. The rookie scored nine runs and drove in two.