Junichi Tazawa, the promising righthander signed by the Red Sox out of Japan’s industrial league in the offseason, got word Sunday that he has been promoted from Double A Portland to Triple A Pawtucket.
“He’s done a real nice job,” Portland manager Arnie Beyeler told the Portland Press Herald, which was the first to report the story. “He’s become a really polished guy. It will be interesting to watch him.”
The 22 year-old Tazawa went 9-5 in 18 starts for the Sea Dogs this season with a 2.57 ERA, which is good for second in the Eastern League. His nine wins are tied for second in the league and his 88 strikeouts are tied for third.
Tazawa was named to the 2009 Eastern League All-Star team, but did not appear in the midsummer classic. He was also selected to the MLB Futures Game in St. Louis. Tazawa was slated to start the Futures Game for the World team before a rain delay scratched his appearance.
In his last five starts in Portland, Tazawa had a 1.03 ERA with 22 strikeouts and five walks.
Tazawa was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent Dec. 11, 2008, agreeing to a three-year contract worth $3.3 million. He became a free agent after teams in Japan’s professional leagues honored his request and did not draft him so he could pitch in the United States.
He pitched for four seasons with Nippon Oil of the Japan Industrial League. Tazawa posted a 13-1 record with five saves and 0.80 ERA in 21 games in 2008.