Yakult have announced the signing of the 30 year old Wilson Valdez from South Korean outfit the KIA Tigers.
Wilson hails from the Dominican Republic, and has been on the books of both the Seattle Mariners and the L.A. Dodgers in a short and unspectacular stint in the MLB (111 games, .211, 1 HR, 20 RBI). He hit an equally unspectacular .218 with 1 HR and 16 RBIs in 48 appearances with KIA (the car that cares….sorry).
He is believed to have been signed as cover for veteran Swallows shortstop Shinya Miyamoto, who will be away captaining the Japanese Olympic Baseball team in Beijing this summer.
The last time Miyamoto was away back in 2004, helping to win an Olympic bronze for Japan, he was covered back home at Jingu by Noriyuki Shiroishi. The much-malligned infielder had a prolonged stint in the starting nine, with a chance to stake his claim as something other than a bit-part player. But as it turned out, he didn’t do too well at all. So much so that Jingu breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Olympics were done and Miyamoto returned home to resume shortstopping duties.
With his window of opportunity now passed, Shiroishi has never had much of a run in the team since, and with him currently wielding a mighty batting average of .0588 from his handful of appearances this year, who can blame the club for seeking an extra body to help us through the year.
Welcome to the Swallows, Wilson.