Rangers make Fujikawa deal official

BY foxsports • December 16, 2014

The Texas Rangers have liked Kyuji Fujikawa since they scouted him when he was a dominant closer in Japan.

The Rangers aren't getting that version of the veteran right-hander, 34, who they signed to a one-year deal for $1 million plus performance bonuses Tuesday. But the version they are getting they believe will be able to help out in the bullpen.

"We're very excited to add a veteran piece to an otherwise young bullpen," said general manager Jon Daniels. "I think he's a piece that Jeff Banister can utilize and help us win some games."

Fujikawa spent the last two years with the Chicago Cubs, with his 2013 season cut short by Tommy John surgery, He had a 4.85 ERA in 15 outings for the Cubs last year and Daniels believes he'll be better in 2015 as he's had more time to recover, comparing his return to that of Joakim Soria.

Fujikawa, who had 220 saves in his career in Japan, can pitch in any spot out of the bullpen. He's just happy to have a healthy arm again.

"It's a lot better than before I had the surgery," Fujikawa said. "When I got hurt earlier in the season when I joined the Cubs (in 2013) it lingered a little bit. My arm feels a lot better now."

Fujikawa knew Texas starter Yu Darvish from their playing days in Japan but both Daniels and Fujikawa said that had little to do with him coming to Texas on a deal that includes a club option for the 2016 season.

"Obviously Darvish is the ace of the staff and he's well respected," said Fujikawa, who made 27 appearances in his two seasons in Chicago. "My priority was to play where I was needed. I have a desire to play with him but that wasn't the primary reason to play with the Rangers."

Briefly

• The Rangers signed outfielder/infielder Kyle Blanks to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training. Blanks, 28, split the 2014 season between San Diego and Oakland.

• Texas also signed infielder Tommy Field to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. Field, 27, is a Texas native who played last season in Triple A for the Angels and Pittsburgh. He's played in 33 major-league games, hitting .224.

• Pitcher Matt Harrison will have a CT scan on his back Wednesday.

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