From the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman and Tony Massarotti.

The Red Sox have signed Japanese relief pitcher Hideki Okajima to a two-year contract with an option for the 2009 season.

Okajima, who will turn 31 on Christmas, is a 12-year veteran of Nippon Professional Baseball. He has been a quality setup man in the Japanese leagues, playing 11 years for the Yomiuri Giants and last season for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Last season, Okajima went 2-2 with a career-best 2.14 ERA in 55 appearances for the Ham Fighters. In his career, he is 34-32 with a 3.36 ERA. He has pitched 642 innings in 439 games, recording 41 saves while striking out 681.

Although primarily used as a set-up man, Okajima did save 25 games for the Giants in 2001. That year he appeared in 58 games, striking out 70 in 62 innings of work. The year before, he struck out 102 in 72.1 innings.

Though not said to be a hard thrower, the word is that Okakjima has a devastating curveball.

Boston has also signed the 178th Scrappiest Human Alive, Super Joe McEwing (above) to a minor league contract.  Having watched Joe’s heroics for the Round Rock Express this past season, I can say to the people of Pawtucket with full confidence…you’re a very short drive from Providence.

I don’t spend a lot of time trying to find nice things to write about Derek Jeter, but I’ll give the Captain a little bit of credit : I’ve not read any complaints from the Yankee shortstop that he was jobbed out of the MVP Award.  If Prince Albert can’t take some solace in a measly World Series ring, he might want to consider how close the Cards came to missing the playoffs altogether.

The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin spoke
with Tom Glavine’s agent Greg Clifton, who claims the Braves have yet to make a bona fide offer to his client.  Clifton says Atlanta’s hesitancy is making a Glavine return to Flushing more likely, and at the risk of imitating Steve Keane, make up your fucking mind, already.