Takashi Saito heads back to Japan

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Seven-year MLB veteran Takashi Saito, most recently in Arizona, has signed a deal to go back to Japan. The club: the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, home to Andruw Jones and Casey McGehee.

Saito has been hurt much of the past two seasons, but was highly effective through 2011. He’ll be 43 in February and apparently the Golden Eagles think he still has something left in the tank.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.