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Indians Sign Toru Murata

December 20, 2010
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Murata pitched in the minors in
Japan (Photo: AP)
The Indians signed Japanese free agent right-handed pitcher Toru Murata over the weekend to a minor league contract. The 25-year old stands in at 6'0" 176 pounds and throws a fastball that tops out at 92 MPH. He throws two different fastballs, a cutter and forkball, and complements the two fastballs with a slider, curveball, and changeup.

As a former #1 pick of the Yomiuri Giants in 2007, Murata was recently released by the Giants on December 2nd. In three seasons in the minors in Japan he went 2-10 with a 4.56 ERA in 43 appearances. He pitched a total of 96.2 innings and allowed 115 hits, 7 home runs, 42 walks, and had 64 strikeouts. He pitched stateside in the Arizona Fall League in 2009 for Scottsdale and in nine games went 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA (11.0 IP, 10 H, 3 HR, 3 BB, 8 K).

"He is a former first round pick of the Yomouiri Giants," said Scouting Director John Mirabelli when reached for comment. "He is a high profile prospect who pitched in the AFL and showed ability to get future major league hitters out. He is still only 25 with upside and we feel our Player Development people can help him get back on track."

The Indians have been scouting the Pacific Rim heavily this offseason and have been looking at several players. Murata may not be the last signing this offseason. He will report to minor league spring training in March, and likely will open the season at Double-A Akron or High-A Kinston.

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