Former Rakuten Eagle Brandon Duckworth has joined the New York Yankees' scouting department. From MLB.com' Bryan Hoch:
The Yankees on Thursday announced five additions to their Major League and professional scouting department, a group that includes former big league pitchers Brandon Duckworth and Dan Giese.
... Duckworth, 38, concluded a 16-year playing career last season. His playing career spanned eight big league seasons with the Phillies (2001-03), Astros (2004-05) and Royals (2006-08). Duckworth pitched the last two seasons for Japan's Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles as a teammate of right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, completing his career by celebrating the 2013 Japan Series title.
Former Yakult Swallow Chris Leroux has reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with the New York Yankees. From Sportsnet 590's Alex Seixeiro:
Canadian Chris Leroux (went to my high school in Mississauga) has accepted an offer to join Yankees spring training. Go get 'em Chris.
And from MLB.com's Joey Nowak:
The nine players signed to Minor League deals are: right-hander Bruce Billings, infielder Russ Canzler, right-hander Robert Coello, right-hander Brian Gordon, right-hander Chris Leroux, outfielder Antoan Richardson, infielder Scott Sizemore, infielder Yangervis Solarte and infielder Zelous Wheeler.
So Taguchi believes Ichiro Suzuki will have a good season this year. Taguchi watched Ichiro work out for about three hours in Kobe on Thursday and felt the veteran appeared determined and focused.
Source: Tokyo Sports 1/31/2014
Daisuke Matsuzaka can opt-out in his contract if he does not get promoted by June 1. From ESPN's Adam Rubin:
Dice-K, because he has six-plus years of MLB service and re-signed with the Mets as what is known as a XX(B) free agent, automatically receives certain rights: The Mets must inform him five days before Opening Day that he has made the team; otherwise, the Mets must release him, or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to send him to the minors. Dice-K also automatically gets a June 1 "out" in his contract as part of the CBA if he is not promoted to the majors by then and wants free agency.
Mizuno announced that they signed a brand ambassador contract with Hiroyuki Nakajima. Under the terms of the agreement, Nakajima will use Mizuno gloves, provide advice and opinion on future glove designs, and help with public relations.
Updates on Masahiro Tanaka from Friday, January 31, 2014:
- Tanaka worked out alone at Kobo Stadium today with all of his former teammates out in Okinawa for the start of spring camp. [Nikkan Sports 1/31/2014]
- Tanaka threw thirty-one pitches in the bullpen on Thursday. Senichi Hoshino dropped by the facilities to see his former ace one last time. The two met for the first time since Tanaka's contract with the Yankees became official. [Sanspo 1/31/2014]
- A number of former Rakuten teammates, including Motohiro Shima, Shinichiro Koyama, Koji Aoyama, and Manabu Mima, held a small farewell gathering for Tanaka in Sendai on Wednesday night. The group presented Tanaka with a Hermes necktie and a tie pin in the shape of a clover. He plans to wear both during his press conference in New York. [Nikkan Sports 1/31/2014]
- About ten former teammates were at the gathering. Tanaka was also given a card case. [Sponichi 1/31/2014]
- Tanaka will most likely head to New York some time early next week for a press conference at Yankee Stadium. [Sanspo 1/31/2014]
- Tanaka's travel schedule to New York will be finalized once his visa clears. [Sponichi 1/31/2014]