Baseball: Fujinami agrees to join Athletics on 1-year contract

Hanshin Tigers right-hander Shintaro Fujinami has agreed to join the Oakland Athletics on a one-year contract through the posting system, reported Wednesday citing a source.

Fujinami, who has clocked 162 kilometers per hour with his fastest pitch, was considered the pitching rival of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani during high school and early in their professional careers.

Fujinami reached double figures in wins in each of his first three years in Nippon Professional Baseball after joining his local club Hanshin as its first draft pick ahead of the 2013 season before experiencing a long slump.

But the 197-centimeter-tall flamethrower has been showing signs of recovery, serving as the Tigers' Opening Day starter for the last two seasons and making six quality starts from seven games from August during last year's regular season.

The 28-year-old went 3-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 games last year. Over his 10 years with the Tigers, Fujinami was 57-54 with a 3.41 ERA in 189 games.

Oakland is in the process of rebuilding after posting an American League-low .370 winning percentage last season and Fujinami will be envisaged as part of the team's starting rotation.

Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui, who hit 175 home runs during his time in the majors, played for the Athletics in 2011.

© Kyodo News