According to NPB Tracker, the Yankees’ all time leader in wins by a Japanese starting pitcher is considering a comeback:
Nikkan Sports is reporting noted fat toad Hideki Irabu is working out in LA and aiming to resume his career in the US independent leagues some time this season. The article says that he’s played in amateur games and is hitting 90 mph on the gun in his workouts.
I’ve made it no secret that for some reason, I’m a fan of Irabu. At times, his stuff was above average, and for a few months in ’98, he was the Yankees’ best starting pitcher.
But he had some major attitude issues and when he wasn’t trying, his stuff was all too hittable. That and a habit of not covering first base led to a trade to Montreal where Yankees GM Brian Cashman must have had some incriminating photos of Expos front office officials to get a few decent players back for Irabu.
Hideki floundered in Montreal and also served as the Rangers’ closer before “retiring,” opening up a noodle shop in LA and another in Japan.
According to the NPB link, he also tried out for Japan’s WBC team this winter. Looks more like he participated in the tryouts rather than actually made the team.
Still, if all he’s shooting for is another shot in the big leagues, best of luck to him. If somehow he happens to end up in Columbus pitching for or against the Clippers, I may have to dig one of my two Irabu T-shirts out of the closet.
(Actually, now that I think about it, I may have worn one last summer. Should I be admitting that in a public forum?)