The Dodgers ventured east today to sign a pair of Japanese pitchers to minor league contracts. They inked Kazuki Nishijima and Kazuya Takano today, making them the second and third Japanese amateurs ever signed by the Dodgers. The Dodgers previously had signed Japanese pitcher Robert Boothe out of college in 2007, and he has a 6.24 ERA in three minor league seasons in rookie ball and Class A.
Nishijima is a 21-year old lefty who was 6-5 in 31 career appearances for Meiji University with a 1.91 ERA. He won a national title in high school in 2006 at Yokohama High School, the same school which produced Daisuke Matsuzaka. Takano is a right-handed 18-year old from Buntoku High School in Kumamoto, Japan.
"Nishijima is known for his curveball and his consistent arm slot. He locates fastballs on the lower part of the plate and induces a lot of ground balls. Takano has a very smooth delivery and flexibility," said Dodgers’ Supervisor, Scouting in Japan , Keiichi Kojima. "While they both show enormous talent and can expect bright futures, our first priority for both pitchers is to become physically and mentally acclimated to a new level of baseball."