The New York Mets today signed Japanese right-handed pitcher Yusaku Iriki to a one-year Major League contract.
Iriki, 33, pitched for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League in 2005. He went 6-7 with a 3.35 ERA in 28 games, 20 starts. Yusaku finished ninth in the Pacific League in ERA and 10th in strikeouts (122). The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder also hurled 150 2/3 innings, allowed 147 hits, 70 runs, 56 earned with 65 walks.
"Iriki will give us versatility by being able to start or pitch out of the bullpen," said Mets general manager Omar Minaya.
"I'm excited to be with the Mets," said Iriki. "I can start or relieve. I will try to help manager Willie Randolph however I can."
Yusaku is 35-35 with three save and a 3.73 ERA during his eight-year career in Japan. In 212 games with the Yomiuri Giants and Ham Fighters, he's made 73 starts and registered nine complete games. Iriki has tossed 775 innings, allowed 718 hits, 349 runs, 321 earned runs, with 295 walks and 672 strikeouts.
Iriki's best season came in 2001, when he went 13-4 with one save and a 3.71 ERA in 27 games, 21 starts for Yomiuri. In 162 1/3 innings, he permitted 143 hits, 68 runs, 67 earned, with 58 walks and 137 strikeouts.
He was the No. 1 draft pick by Yomiuri in 1997 and began his professional career that season appearing in 57 games.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.