The Reno Silver Sox announced today that they have agreed to terms with Japanese right-handed pitcher Hideki Nagasaka.
Known as "The Fire Hydrant" for his compact 5-6 160-pound frame, passionate personality and ability to douse rallies from the mound, he will start his fourth season in professional ball in the U.S. in 2006.
"Hideki dominated the league last year," said Reno Silver Sox manager Les Lancaster. "He was un-hittable much of the season and is one of the toughest competitors I've seen in seven years of managing. It is great to have him in our rotation."
Nagasaka, 27, from Yokohama, Japan, has played professionally in Japan for a number of years and first played in the U.S. in 2002 for Cook County in the Frontier League and for Solano County in the Western Baseball League.
Nagasaka returned to the U.S. in 2004, joining the Lincoln Saltdogs in the Northern League and had a breakout season, compiling a 3.58 ERA.
In 2005, he began the year with Lincoln but was traded two weeks into the season to the Japan Samurai Bears of the Golden Baseball League. Armed with a smoking fastball and a nasty curve, he quickly became the ace of the staff and a team leader as he started 16 games, compiling an 8-6 mark for the last place Bears. He tossed four complete games including a shutout, and had one of the best ERAs amongst starting pitchers in the GBL at 3.26. He also struck out 148 batters for the season between Lincoln and the Samurai Bears which was the second-highest total in all of independent baseball, just three behind Ben Simon.