Hideki Okajima began the season at Triple-A, got called up to rejoin the Red Sox’s bullpen in mid-April, was designated for assignment last week, and now has accepted an assignment back to Triple-A after passing through waivers unclaimed.
And all that has happened after he re-signed with the Red Sox this offseason for $1.75 million.
That contract likely explains why Okajima cleared waivers, although certainly he’s also pitched poorly enough to scare teams off at a fraction of the cost.
Okajima finished strong last season after a terrible first half and has allowed opponents to bat just .233 with a .643 OPS in 8.1 innings so far this season, but that comes with a 6/5 K/BB ratio and he has a 4.47 ERA in 54 innings dating back to last year.
He still looks capable of being a useful middle reliever, but apparently that isn’t worth $1 million to anyone.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.