Braves Sign Japanese Pitcher

For the second time this winter, the Atlanta Braves have signed a young Japanese player to a minor league contract. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has the details.

The Atlanta Braves have signed 21-year old right-handed pitcher Masayoshi Tokuda to a minor league contract for the 2005 season

"He is a strong right-handed pitcher that came to a tryout camp," Braves Eastern Rim Coordinator Phil Dale told BravesCenter via email on Thursday. "He had a 93 mile an hour fastball and a hard curve, and that was without playing for six months. He quit college in Japan after the death of his mother and he had to look after his brother and sister. That made him a free agent."

The 6'0", 210 pound Tokuda will be in minor league camp in a few weeks in Orlando. He is currently on the Danville spring roster. No word on what level he will start at in the minor league system.

Earlier in the winter the Braves signed outfielder Takumi Hamaoka to a contract. As of now, he will remain overseas for this season.

As BravesCenter finds out more on this signing, we will pass along additional information.

Bill Shanks can be reached at

Joe Hudson contributed to this report.

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