Red Sox agree to two-year contract With right-handed pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura

February 16th, 2021

BOSTON, MA—The Boston Red Sox today signed right-handed pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura to a two-year contract through the 2022 season, with a dual club/player option for the 2023 season. To make room for Sawamura on the 40-man roster, the club designated left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Springs for assignment.

Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom made the announcement.

Sawamura, 32, spent the last 10 years pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for the Yomiuri Giants (2011-20) and Chiba Lotte Marines (2020). The right-hander went 48-52 with 75 saves, four shutouts, a 2.77 ERA (267 ER/868.1 IP), 790 strikeouts, and only 66 home runs allowed (0.68 HR/9.0 IP) in 352 appearances (88 starts). The 2011 Central League Rookie of the Year was a member of Japan’s 2013 World Baseball Classic team, appearing in four games and allowing one run in 3.1 innings. Sawamura began his career as a starting pitcher but transitioned to a full-time reliever in 2015, recording 36 saves that season before leading the Central League with 37 in 2016. After making 13 appearances with Yomiuri in 2020, his final 22 outings came with Chiba Lotte, for whom he posted a 1.71 ERA (4 ER/21.0 IP) with 29 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP.

Born on April 3, 1988 in Tochigi, Japan, Sawamura would become the ninth player born in Japan to play for the Red Sox, joining outfielder Dave Roberts (2004) and pitchers Tomo Ohka (1999-2001), Hideo Nomo (2001), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007-12), Hideki Okajima (2007-11), Takashi Saito (2009), Junichi Tazawa (2009, ’11-16), and Koji Uehara (2013-16).

Springs, 28, made his Red Sox debut last season after being acquired from the Texas Rangers on January 15, 2020, in exchange for first baseman Sam Travis. In 16 relief appearances, the left-hander went 0-2 with a 7.08 ERA (16 ER/20.1 IP).


PITCHERS (23): Matt Andriese, Matt Barnes, Eduard Bazardo, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Nathan Eovaldi, Jay Groome, Darwinzon Hernandez, Tanner Houck, Bryan Mata, Adam Ottavino, Martín Pérez, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Hirokazu Sawamura, Connor Seabold, Josh Taylor, Phillips Valdez, Marcus Walden, Garrett Whitlock

CATCHERS (3): Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez, Connor Wong

INFIELDERS (8): Jonathan Araúz, Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Kiké Hernández, Hudson Potts

OUTFIELDERS (6): Franchy Cordero, J.D. Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, Jeisson Rosario, Alex Verdugo, Marcus Wilson