According to a number of reports, the Rakuten Eagles are talking to thirty-year-old outfielder John Bowker and may be close to finalizing a deal, pending the results of a physical. Bowker is appealing to the Eagles because he of his experience in the NPB (he spent two seasons with the Yomiuri Giants).
Andruw Jones has shown decent power with six home runs so far this season, but has struggled with consistency. Kevin Youkilis was brought in this year to fill the hole left by the departing Casey McGehee, but was taken off the active roster on Saturday with a heel injury. There are also concerns about his back over the course of the entire season.
Bowker can play the outfield and first base. He will most likely fill in for Youkilis for the time being, but could also provide the Eagles with additional options down the road -- insurance in case of injury or to help shake things up. He will most likely bat fifth in the line-up.
[UPDATE 4/29 @ 1:27pm]
Bowker could arrive in Japan within the next few days -- he is already in the process of getting his visa and will fly over as soon as everything is ready. A contract with the Eagles will be finalized once he passes his physical in Japan.
Source: Nikkan Sports 4/28/2014