Looking for another power hitter, the SoftBank Hawks have pulled former NPB star Roberto Petagine off the scrap heap, signing him to a $400k deal with performance bonuses. Petagine previously played for Yakult from 1999-2002, where he was an absolute terror, before Yomiuri signed him to replace Hideki Matsui's bat. Since leaving Japan, Petagine has spent time with the Red Sox, Mariners and LG Twins of Korea.
Petagine joins a rather crowded 1B/3B/DH/LF depth chart. I figure whatever at-bats he gets will come at the expense of Lee Beom-Ho. Nobuhiro Matsuda seems to be getting most of the starts at third, relegating Lee to a bench role despite his superior OPS (.741 vs .691). Hiroki Kokubo (1B) and Jose Ortiz (LF) are off to good starts, and Nobuhiko Matsunaka is SoftBank's DH, even though he's not the hitter he once was.
Two other questions remain:
- How much of his wife, who is about 30 years older, be seen at Fukuoka Dome? She was ever-present in Roberto's Yakult days.
- Will Tuffy Rhodes get another shot? (Rakuten? Nippon Ham?) Petagine is, of course, playing for a fraction of what Rhodes turned down from Orix.