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Baseball: Former Red Sox pitcher Sawamura rejoins Marines

Hirokazu Sawamura. (Getty/Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Free-agent pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura returned to his former Japanese baseball club the Lotte Marines on Saturday following a two-year spell with the Boston Red Sox.

    The 34-year-old right-hander played 49 games last season as a member of the Red Sox bullpen, going 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA. He went 6-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 104 MLB games over two years.

    Sawamura spent the bulk of his nine Nippon Professional Baseball seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, which he joined in 2011 as the club's top draft pick out of Chuo University.

    The Tochigi Prefecture native was named the Central League's Rookie of the Year after winning 11 games in his first season.

    He became the Giants' closer in 2015 and led the league in saves the following year, but he relinquished the role after missing all of the 2017 season due to a shoulder issue.

    Following a slump in form, he was traded by the Giants to the Marines during the 2020 season and quickly found rejuvenation with the Pacific League club, logging a 1.71 ERA in 22 games as a reliever.

    Sawamura exercised his overseas free agent rights the same year and was signed by the Red Sox to a two-year deal ahead of the 2021 season.

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