The Pittsburgh Pirates today signed right-handed pitcher Ryota Igarashi and first baseman Jeff Clement to minor league contracts, with invitations to Spring Training as non-roster players.
Igarashi, 32, spent the last two seasons pitching in the New York Mets organization after pitching 10 seasons with the Yakult Swallows in the Japanese Central League. A five-time All-Star while pitching exclusively in relief in Japan, Igarashi recorded 630 strikeouts in 570.0 career innings in the Central League. He led the league with 37 saves in 2004.
Igarashi made 45 appearances with the Mets in 2011 and went 4-1 with a 4.66 ERA, striking out 42 batters in 38.2 innings of work. He also posted a 0.87 ERA (31.0ip/3er), five saves and 34 strikeouts in 21 games with Triple-A Buffalo.
The 28-year-old Clement spent most of the 2011 campaign rehabbing from left knee surgery, which took place on 9/22/10. He hit .257 (9-for-35) with seven RBI in nine games with the GCL Pirates before finishing the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he batted .271 (16-for-59) with five doubles, a homer and five RBI in 22 games.