Former Orix pitcher Yuki Tanaka, who was registered to the top team from a developmental player contract on May 11th, looks likely to see some Central League action sooner than expected.
The 29 year old Tanaka, who has been registered as ???/Yuki , was a number five draft pick by the then
Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1998. He made 99 appearances for Kintetsu and then Orix in his six active seasons with the Buffaloes to the tune of a 23-16 record with 1 save and a 3.81 career ERA.
After shoulder trouble and a subsequent operation the righty was released by Orix last year. He then passed a tryout with Yakult to be put on the books as one of their developmental players, and was given uniform number 121.
After putting in 21 innings of work in 5 appearances for the Swallows farm team, he boasted an ERA of 2.14.
That was promising enough for the organisation to register him as a regular player and he will wear number 29, and earn a mere 8 million yen this year (he took home 26 million in his last year with Orix).
According to some sources, it seems he may be the starter for today’s home series opener with the Hanshin Tigers (Central League pitchers are not officially announced until just before game time).
Hopefully his shoulder will hold up and he will be able to stake his claim for one of the open rotation slots. We can sure use all the help we can get in the march for a playoff spot.
Good luck Yuki!