Arizona signs Japanese lefty

February 15, 2002

The Arizona Republic reports the Diamondbacks have signed Tetsuya Yamaguchi, an 18-year-old lefthander out of Yokohama Commercial High School in Japan, to a contract pending the approval of the commissioner's office.

Yamaguchi, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds, worked out for Arizona last month at Grand Canyon University and will receive a low five-figure bonus. He will attend extended spring training and debut at Rookie-level Missoula this summer.

Yamaguchi, who uses a three-quarters delivery, throws a slow curve ball and a slider to complement a fastball clocked in the high 80 mph range. He has decent mechanics and solid movement on his pitches, but needs to improve his command and leg strength.

This marks the Diamondbacks' second signing of a free agent from the Far East in three years. They signed reliever Byung-Hyun Kim before the 1999 season, and Kim made the jump to the majors by the end of May.

Contributing: Gary Garland.