Rangers sign Japanese pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama
The Rangers have signed right-handed pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama out of Japan. He will compete for a spot in the bullpen. He had a 1.80 ERA for the Nippon Ham Fighters out of Hokkaido last seaspon with 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings over 55 innings. He was 1-2 with four saves. He turns 35 on Dec. 26 and is a 12-year veteran of the Japanese Major Leagues.
The side-armer held opposing batters to a .213 (43-202) average with 11 walks and 59 strikeouts, allowing just 3 home runs. Opposing right-handers hit just .186 (26-140). The Ham Fighters were 41-14-3 in his 58 appearances in 2010.
He has spent his entire career with Hokkaido (1999-2010), which plays its home games in Sapporo, the northern-most location for any Japanese club. Primarily a reliever throughout his career, he has compiled a 3.43 ERA (252 ER/661.2 IP) in 438 appearances. He has averaged just 2.12 walks-per-9-innings in his career in Japan.
He was a member of Hokkaido’s 2006 championship club and has been teammates with right-hander Yu Darvish, who pitched for Japan in the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Baseball Classic. This past season, he was teammates with former big leaguer Bobby Keppel.
The Osaka native is seeking to become just the fourth Japanese player ever to appear in a major league game with the Rangers. The others, all right-handed pitchers, were Hideki Irabu (2002), Akinori Otsuka (2006-07), and Kazuo Fukumori (2008).