Former Hanshin pitcher Takateru Iyono is the latest NPB veteran to announce his intent to try to land with an MLB organization this offseason. The 28 year-old righty was released by the Tigers after six ineffective seasons spent mostly on the farm team. He failed to catch on with another NPB team after two tryouts, and is ready for a change of scenery. "My results haven't been good recently, and I had been thinking to myself that if this year was bad I'd want to challenge myself (in a different environment)", said Iyono.
Iyono had trained earlier in December with former teammate Kyuji Fujikawa in LA. He'll return to the States sometime in on January 9 to work out in front of MLB scouts. He's probably an organizational arm at this point, but his sidearm delivery will give him a different look to most of the other minor league righties out there. Word has it that he's recently added a changeup to his repertoire.
And here's some video of him pitching.
I can't remember ever seeing this many NPB minor leaguers take a shot at signing wtih MLB organizations in a single offseason. As recently as a couple years ago, few NPB veterans would have seen a move to America as a viable option.