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Updated December 24th, 2023 at 23:45 IST

Padres and Japanese reliever Yuki Matsui agree to 5-year contract

Japanese reliever Yuki Matsui agreed Saturday to a five-year contract with the San Diego Padres. At 5-foot-8, he becomes one of the shortest pitchers in the major leagues.

Yuki Matsui
Yuki Matsui | Image:AP
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Japanese reliever Yuki Matsui agreed Saturday to a five-year contract with the San Diego Padres. At 5-foot-8, he becomes one of the shortest pitchers in the major leagues.

The 28-year-old left-hander was a five-time All-Star in Japan for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, leading the Pacific League in saves in 2019, 2022 and this year. He had a career-best 39 saves with a 1.57 ERA and 2-3 record this season, striking out 72 and walking 13 in 57 1/3 innings.

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He has a 2.40 career ERA, 236 saves and a 1.11 WHIP. He is the youngest pitcher in the Japanese major leagues to reach 200 saves.

Because he had nine years of service time, he was a free agent and no posting fee is involved in his acquisition.

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Matsui struck out one in a perfect inning for Japan in the World Baseball Classic against South Korea in the group stage. He threw 15 fastballs averaging 91.7 mph among 23 pitches, mixing in five changeups, two sliders and one curveball.

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Published December 24th, 2023 at 23:45 IST

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