Braves sign Japanese reliever Saito

7726.jpgThe Atlanta Braves continue to strengthen their bullpen: after the signing of closer Billy Wagner, they have agreed to terms with RHP Takashi Saito on a one-year contract for the 2010 season (Source: MLB, Cot’s Baseball Contracts).

Saito, who turns 40 in February, has played four Major League seasons after a successful career in Japan. He will become the second Japanese-born player in franchise history after pitcher Kenshin Kawakami, who joined Atlanta in 2009. A member of the 2007 National League All-Star team, Saito owns a 15-10 career record with 83 saves in 95 chances and a 2.05 ERA in 236 games (all in relief). He has posted 297 strikeouts over 245.1 innings pitched (14.6 per nine innings). Saito originally came to the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006 and converted 24-of-26 save opportunities as a rookie. In 2009, Saito moved to the American League’s Boston Red Sox and appeared in 56 games (3-3-2 2.43 ERA).

Saito played for the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japanese Central League from 1992 to 2005, compiling an 87-80 record with a 3.81 ERA and 48 saves in 339 games (178 starts).

Contractual status:                                                                                         

MLB Service Time: 4.000. 1year/$3.2M (2010). Under team control: throughout 2011 season.

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