Hideki Okajima thinking retirement or return to Japan after spending season in minors

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Hideki Okajima has spent nearly the entire season at Triple-A despite signing a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Red Sox and the 35-year-old left-hander told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that he’s thinking about retiring or going back to Japan.

Okajima had three straight seasons with a sub-3.50 ERA setting up Jonathan Papelbon, but struggled last season with a 4.50 ERA and 33/20 K/BB ratio in 46 innings and the Red Sox lost all confidence in him.

They’ve called up a half-dozen other left-handed relievers during the season, bypassing Okajima despite his 2.29 ERA and 48/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings at Triple-A.

Okajima admitted that he “never expected to return back to Boston” once he was removed from the 40-man roster, but thought he’d be pitching for another team by now. Instead he’s been stuck in Pawtucket, dominating Triple-A hitters while his career ERA in the majors remains 3.11.