Angels stepping up pursuit for Japanese reliever Kyuju Fujikawa

The Los Angeles Angels are stepping up their pursuit of Kyuju Fujikawa. A handful of teams are known to have spoken or plan to speak the to 32-year-old. The Japanese born reliever is a free agent and thus is not subject to the posting system.

It was reported last week that the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks had met with Fujikawa. Fujikawa will meet with the Los Angeles Dodgers soon while the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have shown interested as well though no official meeting has been announced.

Each team seems to offer Fujikawa a different oppurtunity. In Chicago he would seem to be the favorite for saves while the Angels, Rangers and others would likely use him in a setup role.

The Angels have Ernesto Frieri penciled in as their closer. Frieri saved 23 games last season while posting as 2.32 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.

Fukijawa was 2-2 with 24 saves and a 1.32 ERA in 47 2/3 innings this season with Hanshin of the Japan Central League. Fujikawa is considered a power pitcher with a mid-90s mph fastball. He has averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in his career.

In 12 seasons, 32-year-old Fujikawa has collected 220 saves and has a 1.77 ERA. 220 saves ranks him 5th in all time Japanese Career Saves leader.

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