Married to Yuka...The couple has a son and a daughter...Graduated from Higashiyama High School in 1994...Pitched in 1994 Koshien National High School Tournament.
Spent most of the season with Triple-A Pawtucket but also went 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA (4 ER/8.1 IP) in 7 relief outings for BOS in 1 stint with the club...Was recalled to the Sox on 4/18, designated for assignment on 5/19 and outrighted back to the PawSox on 5/24. Threw 5.2 scoreless innings with 5 strikeouts in 5 outings for Pawtucket prior to recall...Overall, went 8-1 with a 2.29 ERA (13 ER/51.0 IP) with 48 strikeouts and just 9 walks in 34 games with the PawSox. Earned the win in his final appearance with the Red Sox on 5/9, tossing a career-high 43 pitches while pitching scoreless 10th and 11th innings in the 2-1 victory vs. MIN...It was his 700th professional appearance, including 439 in Japan's NPB and 261 in the Majors, all with Boston.
Made career-low 56 appearances, 3rd most on the club...Ranked 2nd among Red Sox relievers with 4 wins and 11 holds...Missed time with 1st career DL stint. Tallied career-high 4 losses and 4.50 ERA (23 ER/46.0 IP) while posting career lows in games, innings and strikeouts (33)...Also set career highs with 59 hits and 24 runs allowed.
Earned the Opening Day victory on 4/4 vs. NYY, becoming the 1st Red Sox pitcher ever to win 2 Opening Day
games in relief, also 2008 against the A's in Tokyo...Allowed an unearned run to take the loss in the team's next
game, on 4/6 vs. NYY, becoming the 1st Red Sox pitcher to earn a decision in each of Boston's 1st 2 games of
the season since Bill Campbell lost each of the club's 1st 2 games in 1977.
Held opponents to a .240 batting average (24-for-100) and a 2.77 ERA (8 ER/26.0 IP) in 29 appearances
at Fenway Park compared to a .398 clip (35-for-88) and a 6.75 ERA (15 ER/20.0 IP) in 27 games on the road.
Placed on the 15-day disabled list on 8/6 with a right hamstring strain...Made 3 rehab appearances with
Triple-A Pawtucket before being activated on 8/28.
Allowed runs in just 2 of his final 16 outings after coming off the DL on 8/28...Posted a 1.32 ERA (2 ER/13.2
IP) in that time, including a season-high, 12-game (10.0 IP) scoreless stretch from 8/29-9/21.
Finished 2nd among Red Sox relievers with a 2.37 ERA (5 ER/19.0 IP) after the All-Star break, including a
club-best 1.38 mark (2 ER/13.0 IP) in September/October.
Retired 11 straight batters over 3 tilts from 9/18-21...Made 250th career relief appearance on 9/21 vs. BAL,
becoming the 11th player ever to reach that mark with Boston.
Made career-high 68 appearances for the Red Sox, 8th among AL left-handers...Held opponents scoreless in 52 of 68 games, with 1 run allowed in 11 contests...Finished tied for 5th in the AL with 24 holds, his 3rd straight season to reach 20 in that category...Doubled previous career high in wins (3) and equaled total from his 1st 2 seasons combined with 6 victories,
tied for 8th among AL relievers...Tom Burgmeier was BOS's last lefty to post more relief victories in a season,
going 7-0 in 1982, also the last time a Sox hurler had more relief wins in a single season without a loss...Held left-handed hitters to a .167 clip (18-for-108), 8th in the AL among pitchers with at least 60 appearances...Allowed just 16.2 percent (6 of 37) of inherited runners to score, 3rd among qualifying AL pitchers behind
DET's Fu-Te Ni (8.6) and TB's Randy Choate (15.8), and 6th in the Majors...Went 27 games (23.2 IP) without
allowing an inherited runner to score from 5/16-7/24, stranding a total of 16 in that span...Posted a 1.04 ERA (3 ER/26.0 IP) over a span of 25 games from 4/28-6/29...Logged a 2.87 mark (17 ER/53.1
IP) over his final 58 games beginning 4/28...Gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and did not retire a batter 4/24 vs. the Yankees, the 1st time in his Major League
career that he failed to record an out...Had 16.1 scoreless innings from 4/28-6/4, tops among club relievers in 2009 and the 3rd longest streak by
any Sox hurler behind Josh Beckett (18.0 IP, 8/1-12) and Jon Lester (17.0 IP, 9/1-13)...On 8/7 at New York, joined Junichi Tazawa and Takashi Saito as the first trio of Japanese hurlers ever to appear
for a Major League team in a single game.
Followed up a stellar rookie season with a 3-2 record and 2.61 ERA (18 ER/62.0 IP) over
64 games...Notched his 2nd straight season of at least 60 games, the 2nd Red Sox ever to reach
that mark in each of his first 2 major league campaigns, joining Dick Radatz (1962-63).
HOLD IT: Tallied 23 holds, 6th in the A.L. and 4 shy of the high he set in 2007...Is one of just 3 A.L.
relievers with at least 20 holds in each of the last 2 seasons, joined by the Angels' Scot Shields and
Toronto's Scott Downs...Ranks 4th in the majors with 50 total holds since the start of the 2007
season, 2nd in the A.L. behind only Shields (62).
OPENING DAY : Tossed 1.0 scoreless inning to earn the win in Boston's 6-5, 10-inning victory over
Oakland on Opening Day, March 25 in Tokyo, Japan...Was the 2nd pitcher in big league history to
win a regular season game in his native country (excluding Canada, Puerto Rico and the United
States)...San Diego's Fernando Valenzuela beat the New York Mets on August 16, 1996 at Monterrey,
Mexico...Was the first pitcher ever to win in his home country on Opening Day (excluding
Puerto Rico and the United States).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Allowed just one run over his first 17 games through May 10, posting a
0.50 ERA (1 ER/18.0 IP) in that span...Surrendered 11 runs over his next 16 outings from May 14-
June 27, with a 6.32 ERA (11 ER/15.2 IP) during that stretch...Permitted runs in just 6 of his final
31 appearances for a 1.91 ERA (6 ER/28.1 IP) from June 29 onward...Gave up runs in 11 of his 64
games overall...Let 52.0 percent of inherited runners score (13 of 25), the 2nd highest mark in the A.L. among relievers with at least 50 appearances...Logged a 2.86 ERA (9 ER/28.1 IP) at home and
a 2.41 (9 ER/33.2 IP) mark everywhere else...Held lefties to a .184 (19-for-103) average, including a
.125 (6-for-48) clip in his final 27 games beginning June 27...Righties hit .234 (30-for-128).
MORE 2008 HIGHLIGHTS: Escaped a bases-loaded jam with one out in the 8th inning on July 7 vs.
Minnesota to earn his first win since Opening Day, March 25 against Oakland in Japan...Matched
a big league career high with his 3rd win of the season 9 appearances later with 1.2 scoreless
frames on August 12 vs. Texas...Went more than 1.0 inning 10 times in 2008 with a high of 2.0
innings on 3 occasions, May 9 at Minnesota, May 30 at Baltimore and August 20 at Baltimore...
Tossed more than 1.0 inning 14 times in 2007..Allowed 4 runs in his first loss of the season at Baltimore
on June 2, matching the career high he set on September 14, 2007 vs. the Yankees.
SUMMARY: In his 1st major league season, led the
Red Sox and all American League rookies with 66
appearances, a club record for a 1st year player and his most ever in a professional season...Was 2nd on the staff with 5 saves...Ranked 3rd in the A.L. with 27 holds, the most by a Boston pitcher since totals were
1st kept in 1957...Had the 8th best ERA among A.L.
qualifying relievers (0.3 IP/GM) at 2.22 and the 11th
lowest opponents batting average at .202.
HONORS: Was selected as the Major League setup
man of the year in fan voting in mlb.com's This Year
in Baseball Awards...Also named Red Sox Unsung
Hero by Boston BBWAA chapter...Earned a spot as
the lefthanded pitcher on Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.
FIRST PITCH: Surrendered a home run to Kansas City's John Buck on the 1st pitch he threw in the
major leagues, a 6th inning blast on opening day, April 2 at Kauffman Stadium...Was the 3rd
pitcher in Red Sox history to do that, joining Charlie Mitchell, August 9, 1984 at Texas and Jeff
Suppan, July 17, 1995 vs. Kansas City, and the 19th in major league history.
THROWING BLANKS: Did not allow a run in his next 20.2 innings over 20 appearances through
May 20...Was the longest scoreless innings streak by a Red Sox lefthander since Bruce Hurst's 21.2
innings, May 5-15, 1987...Posted a 0.71 ERA (1 ER/12.2 IP) in 12 April appearances to earn A.L.
Rookie of the Month honors...Was just the 2nd A.L. middle/setup reliever to ever receive that
award, joining Texas' Frank Francisco in August 2004...Had a 0.44 ERA at end of streak, lowest
among ML relievers.
REST OF SEASON: Permitted 3 runs in 6.2 innings in next 6 games after that streak, then posted
a 0.67 ERA (2 ER/27.0 IP) in following 25 games through August 8...Did not issue a run in the 1st 15 games and 17.0 innings of that span before
Chicago's Paul Konerko homered on July 9 at Fenway
Park...That ended a span of 172 batters faced without
allowing a homer since Buck's blast...Beginning
August 10, compiled an 7.24 ERA (11 ER/13.2 IP) in
his final 15 games, including 9 ER in 5.1 IP over 7 outings
from August 30-September 14...Did not pitch
between September 15 and 26 due to left shoulder
fatigue...Worked 2.0 scoreless innings in 2 games the
rest of regular season.
ALL-STAR: Earned a spot on the American League
All-Star team by virtue of winning on-line Monster
All-Star Final Vote...Received over 4.3 million votes to
join Johnny Damon (2002) and Jason Varitek (2003) as
Red Sox selected as A.L.'s 32nd All-Star...Became the
7th native of Japan ever selected as an All-Star and
the 9th Red Sox rookie so honored, the 3rd pitcher
(Don Schwall-1961; Jonathan Papelbon-2006)...Did
not pitch in the July 10 game at San Francisco.
MISCELLANEOUS: Allowed a run in 11 of 66 games and permitted just 4 of 28 inherited runners to
score (14.3%) with 1st batters hitting .200 (12-60)...Converted 5 of 7 save opportunities, earning
1st ML save on April 20 vs. New York...Also recorded 1st win in the majors again the Yankees in
June 22...Held righthanded batters to a .182 (29-159) batting average, 10th lowest among A.L.
relievers with lefthanders at .236 (21-89)...Opponents hit just .130 (7-54) with runners in scoring
position and .168 with runners on base, both the 2nd lowest marks among A.L. relievers (50.0 or
more IP)...Held opponents to a .255 on-base percentage, 8th lowest in A.L. among relief pitchers...
Did not allow more than one run in a game until surrendering 3 on August 30 at Yankee
Stadium...Longest outing was 2.1 innings on July 7 at Detroit...Permitted just one homer in 1st
45.1 innings before allowing 5 in final 23.2 frames...Previous Sox rookie record for outings was
62 for Dick Radatz in 1962.
POST-SEASON: Posted a 2.45 ERA (3 ER/11.0 IP) in a team best 8 appearances during the postseason...
Ranked 4th on the club in playoff innings (11.0) and strikeouts...Worked 9.2 scoreless
frames in his 1st 6 post-season outings before issuing 3 runs, including 2 homers, in 1.1 innings
in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series at Colorado...Pitched 2.1 shutout frames in 2 ALDS outings
against Los Angeles and 5.0 scoreless innings in 3 ALCS games versus Cleveland...Became
the 1st native of Japan to ever pitch in a World Series game with a 2.1 inning scoreless stint and
4 strikeouts in Game 2 at Fenway Park...Issued homers to Matt Holliday in Game 3 and Garrett
Atkins in Game 4.
PREVIOUS CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
IN JAPAN: Was one of the top set-up relievers in Nippon Professional Baseball before becoming
an unrestricted free agent and signing with Boston in November 2006...Spent all or parts of 11
seasons with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants from 1995-2005 before trade to Hokkaido Nippon Ham
Fighters in March 2006...Recorded 681 strikeouts in 642 career innings with 5 seasons of at least
50 appearances...Was hitless in 9 career NPB at bats.
SUMMARY: In only season with Hokkaido, tied for seventh in the Pacific League in saves (4) and
ranked 10th in appearances (55)...was second on the Fighters staff in saves and third in games...posted a career low 2.14 earned run average...fanned 63 batters in 54.2 innings, an average of 10.37 every nine innings...held opposition to a .230 (46-200) batting average and had 22 holds.
SEASON BREAKDOWN: Issued a run in 13 of his 55 appearances...compiled a 4.02 ERA (7 ER/15.2
IP) in his first 15 games before working 20 scoreless innings in his next 20 outings, June 7-Aug. 2, lowering ERA to 1.77...permitted three runs in 5.2 innings in his next five appearances before issuing just one run in 12.1 frames in next 14 games, Aug. 22-Sept. 23...surrendered two runs in one inning in final game to raise ERA from 1.84 to 2.14.
MISCELLANEOUS: Worked less than an inning 18 times...longest appearance was two innings on six
occasions...recorded season best four strikeouts on July 11 against Chiba...permitted just three walks in 24.2 innings over his first 25 games of the year...earned victories on June 20 vs. Yakult, the first of 11 straight victories for the Fighters, and July 18 against Orix...was 0-for-2 at the plate and is hitless
in nine career at-bats...appeared in four of five games in the Japan Series against the Chunichi Dragons...Hokkaido won the series, 4-1 for the franchise's first championship since 1962...the Fighters also went on to win the 2006 Konami Cup Asia Series in November.
Appeared in 42 games in final season with the Giants...Fanned 56 in 53 innings, an average of 9.51 per 9 innings...Lone decision was a victory on September 21 versus Yakult.
Finished 8th in the Central League and 2nd on the Yomiuri staff in appearances (53)...Earned 5 saves, most since 2001 and averaged 10.22 strikeouts every 9 innings.