MLB

Braves add to bullpen with Takashi Saito

Share This Story

   
 

ATLANTA (AP)

Japanese reliever Takashi Saito agreed to a $3.2 million, one-year contract with Atlanta on Thursday as the Braves make another move to strengthen their pitching staff. Saito, who turns 40 in February, has 83 saves in four major league seasons after a long career in Japan. He made the National League All-Star team in 2007, when he had 39 saves for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last season, the right-hander went 3-3 with two saves and a 2.43 ERA in a setup role for the Boston Red Sox. Saito is expected to remain in that spot with the Braves, who signed closer Billy Wagner to a $7 million, one-year deal on Wednesday, though there might be an occasional chance to save games. General manager Frank Wren was determined to restock a bullpen that had depth in 2009 with Rafael Soriano (27 saves) and Mike Gonzalez (10 saves) sharing the closer duties, while Peter Moylan set a franchise record with 87 appearances. Soriano and Gonzalez are free agents and won't be back. "We've added two guys who will significantly enhance our chances of winning games late," Wren said. "They both have the ability to close. I think they complement each other very well in their abilities to close out games. When one's not available, the other one can be." Braves manager Bobby Cox already likes the team that is coming together as he prepares for his last season in the dugout. "We've got two outstanding relief pitchers in the last two days and we haven't even been to the winter meetings yet, so we are way ahead of the game," Cox said. "You're not going to go very far if you don't have a great bullpen." Cox said he might rotate Wagner, a left-hander, and Saito based on the situation. Cox had success last season doing that with Soriano and Gonzalez. "When Wagner's not closing, (Saito will) be closing," the manager said. "And vice versa at times, depending on who we're facing." Saito's agreement provides $500,000 in bonuses for appearances and a hefty $1.8 million in bonuses based on games finished. "I definitely wanted to be in those pressure situations," Saito said through an interpreter. "As a professional athlete, I think you always strive for competing at the most important, pressure-filled situations. That definitely affected my decision." Saito will be the second Japanese player to suit up for the Braves. Kenshin Kawakami spent most of last season in the starting rotation, going 7-12 with a 3.86 ERA. The agreement with Saito likely completes the Braves' pitching staff for 2010. They also re-signed Tim Hudson, giving Atlanta six established starters, one of whom almost certainly will be dealt for offensive help. ---

Related Stories



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..