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Red Sox sign Japanese submarine pitcher

Watanabe, 37, heads to Spring Training with Minor League contract

The Red Sox signed veteran Japanese pitcher Shunsuke Watanabe to a Minor League contract on Tuesday, while releasing the contract of pitcher Chris Carpenter to the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Watanabe has spent his entire 13-year career with NPB's Chiba Lotte Marines, starting 240 of his 255 games and going 87-82 with a 3.65 ERA but fewer than five strikeouts per nine innings. The submarine-style right-hander pitched in only six contests in 2013, all starts, and went 0-4 with a 4.62 ERA. He struck out nine and walked nine over 25 1/3 innings.

The 37-year-old was an NPB All-Star in 2004 and '05 and helped Japan capture championships in the '06 and '09 World Baseball Classics.

Carpenter, not to be confused with the former Cardinals pitcher of the same name, is perhaps best known as being part of the compensation the Red Sox received for letting general manager Theo Epstein leave for the Cubs. The deal, agreed to in February 2012, also included a player to be named on both sides.

Boston will receive cash from the Swallows in exchange for the rights to Carpenter. The 27-year-old righty made eight relief appearances last season, giving up six earned runs over six innings. He spent most of his season at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 4.96 ERA over 30 games, including one start.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.

Boston Red Sox