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Report: Hideki Okajima agrees to minor league deal with Yankees

12.28.11 at 10:41 am ET

According to Sports Hochi and The New York Times, Hideki Okajima has agreed to a minor league deal with the Yankees that includes an invite to major league camp.

Okajima, who was taken off the 40-man roster last season by the Red Sox, pitched in 34 games (all in relief) with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in 2011, going 8-1 with a 2.29 ERA. In 51 innings, the lefty fanned 48 and walked nine. Before being demoted to Pawtucket, Okajima had gone 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA with the Red Sox to begin the ’11 season.

The reliever told WEEI.com in early June that he wished to be traded out of the Red Sox organization after being taken off the 40-man roster

“It was very disappointing,” Okajima said through translator Jeff Cutler on June 3 regarding being designated for assignment. “Having experienced that, right now I’m just working hard on myself to make sure I’m pitching well so I can put myself up for a trade at some point.”

When asked if he wants to be traded, the 35-year-old said in English, “Yes.”

“Being taken off the 40-man, to me, means the team no longer needs me,” Okajima said through Cutler. “So I’m just looking to move on with my career at this point.”

Okajima pitched in 261 games over five seasons with the Red Sox, going 17-8 with a 3.11 ERA while saving six games. In 2007, his first season with the Sox, he made the American League All-Star team while finishing sixth in AL Rookie of the Year balloting.

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