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A's finalize minor league deal with lefty Hideki Okajima

PHOENIX — The Oakland Athletics and free agent left-hander Hideki Okajima finalized a minor league contract Tuesday after he passed a physical and immediately got to work.

Okajima played last season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League, going 0-2 with a 0.94 ERA and nine saves in 56 relief appearances. He allowed only one home run and walked six batters in 47 2-3 innings

"I'm very happy to be back, very happy to come back with Oakland," Okajima told reporters at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "It's nice to be on the West Coast. The weather is good. And it represents a real opportunity for me."

Okajima spent the 2007-11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, then signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees and was released at the start of 2012 spring training when he failed a physical.

A's pitching coach Curt Young worked with Okajima in Boston.


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