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Saito Set To Earn An Extra $500,000

09.11.09 at 1:38 am ET

As noted by the Boston Herald, Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito — who has pitched in 49 games this year — will trigger a $500,000 bonus when he makes his next appearance of the season. The right-hander has pitched in 49 contests this year. His contract calls for bonuses of $500,000 when he reaches 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 appearances. Saito has already secured $5 million this season between his base contract and active roster bonuses.

Saito has seemed to grow stronger as the season has progressed. A year ago at this time, Saito was trying to return to the majors to see if he could avoid Tommy John surgery and continue to pitch. After two months on the sidelines last summer, Saito returned to Los Angeles and forged a 4.76 ERA in six appearances.

This year, nearly one year out from his Sept. 15 return to the majors, the Red Sox are benefiting from his best stretch of 2009. Saito is on a run of 11 straight scoreless appearances (spanning 10.2 innings), and has struck out 13 while allowing eight hits and three walks in that time. Opponents have a .545 OPS during the run, which dates to Aug. 6.

The Red Sox hold an option on Saito for the 2010 season that will be based on his earnings this year. The reliever told the Herald that he hopes to return to Boston next year.

“I’€™m really happy being in a Red Sox uniform. Not every team in baseball can be in our competitive situation,’€ Saito told the paper. ‘€œSo I’€™m really happy about it and proud of being here. I believe the best thing is to return to the team next year but that’€™s not something I can control.”

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