The Red Sox have released veteran reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.
Sawamura was designated for assignment in late August, but the right-hander cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester. After appearing in just one game for the WooSox last week, however, he asked for and was granted his release to pursue other opportunities, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Boston originally signed Sawamura to a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston last February that included a dual club/player option for 2023 and a $1 million buyout.
After spending the first 10 seasons of his pro career with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, Sawamura made his major-league debut for the Red Sox last April. The Japanese-born righty posted a 3.06 ERA and 5.00 FIP with 61 strikeouts to 32 walks over 55 relief appearances spanning 53 innings of work. He also got into three games during the American League Championship Series against the Astros.
This season, Sawamura produced a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks across 49 relief outings (50 2/3 innings). While those numbers are certainly respectable, the 34-year-old hurler had struggled to a 6.46 ERA in 15 appearances since the All-Star break and a 5.83 ERA at Fenway Park.
When he was outrighted to Worcester on Aug. 31, it appeared as though Sawamura would provide the Red Sox with experienced bullpen depth while still potentially being in the club’s plans next season on account of that dual option.
Instead, Sawawmura will now look to latch on with another organization or perhaps even return to Japan. Either way, he will head to free agency after collecting his $1 million buyout from the Red Sox.
(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)