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Sox Demote Okajima – SportsUntapped.com
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Added March 29th, 2011 by Chalk

Sox Demote Okajima
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The Boston Red Sox announced Monday that they are sending lefthanded relief pitcher Hideki Okajima and righty reliever Alfredo Aceves to the minors. Okajima made the All-Star team in his rookie season in 2007, and helped the Red Sox win the World Series that season, but his ERA has gone up every season since. The Red Sox said the decision was based more on quantity than quality.

Lefty Dennys Reyes and righty Matt Albers got the final two spots in the Red Sox bullpen, partly because neither reliever had minor league options and could have been lost through waivers if the Sox had gone with Okajima or Aceves. “Everybody performed really well,” said Boston manager Terry Francona. “We certainly, in the back of our head, thought if there’s not a big separation, we want to keep quantity.”

Okajima took a pay cut down to $1.75 million this year to return to the Sox, but his agent says the Japanese reliever knew a stint in the minors was a possibility. “He was hoping this wouldn’t be the case … but Hideki has never shied away from a challenge,” his agent said.

Francona said he saw improvement from Okajima at the end of last season and this spring, but it still wasn’t enough. “Reyes has more action on the ball,” Francona explained. “We just want Okie to get that consistency back, so when he does come back, we can use him and not stay away from him. He was pretty good about it.”

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