Ryota Igarashi heads back to Japan

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Ryota Igarashi left Japan to sign a $3 million deal with the Mets in 2010, but after posting a 6.41 ERA in 73 innings for three different MLB teams the 34-year-old reliever is headed back home.

Yasuko Yanagita of Hochi Shimbun reports that Igarashi has agreed to a three-year contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Igarashi actually spent most of this year at Triple-A and was really good, throwing 58 innings with a 2.03 ERA and 83/21 K/BB ratio, and even while getting knocked around in the majors his fastball averaged 93.1 miles per hour.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.