Former Buffalo Akinori Otsuka (41) is looking to make a comeback in Japan. The Shinano Grandserows (BC League) have an interest in the veteran (there are reports that he may have already received an offer as a mid- to late-inning reliever). If he does well, he might gain some interest from the NPB as well.
Otsuka never officially retired and kept training and rehabbing his right elbow. He even considered switching his throwing arm (practiced throwing the ball 300 to 500 times a day and managed to work his way from a distance of four to five meters all the way to about seventy meters), but ultimately decided to stick with his right. He was even offered a position (international scout or minor league pitching coach) by the San Diego Padres last October, but turned it down because he still wanted to play.
As the story goes, he ran a half-marathon in San Diego on March 10, 2013. As part of his training, he ran with blind sailor Mitsuhiro Iwamoto (46) twice a week for one month before the marathon and was inspired to try one more comeback -- Otsuka promised himself he would try to throw the ball as hard as possible one more time once the marathon was over. When he did, he felt great. All the work he did in between helped -- at one point, he had his delivery broken down by a computer to gain insight on mechanics that would place less strain on his shoulder and elbow.
Otsuka is currently throwing at about eighty percent, off an incline, once every other day.
UPDATE 5/11 @ 10:22am -
Shinano Grandserow president Kaseharu Misawa told reporters on Friday, "We are close to finalizing a contract. I think there is an eighty percent chance he will sign. I cannot wait."
Otsuka was involved in an overseas tryout the BC League and the North American League held last winter. Shinano signed two foreign players he recommended and were quick to show interest in the veteran. If he signs, he will make about 200,000 yen a month.
Source: Sponichi 5/11/2013