Report: Yankees, Igawa agree to deal
Left-hander likely to move into New York's starting rotation
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are expected to officially welcome Andy Pettitte back to the Bronx later this week, but he may not be the only left-hander to put on his new pinstripes.
A report in Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun said Kei Igawa, the left-hander whose negotiating rights were won by the Yankees with a posting bid of more than $26 million, had agreed to a five-year, $20 million deal with New York.
The newspaper reports the deal also includes incentives, though the story did not specify what those were.
Igawa will join Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano as starters on the Yankees, with Igawa and Pavano likely to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. Johnson is recovering from back surgery, so both pitchers could open the year in the rotation if the Big Unit isn't ready by Opening Day.
Pettitte is expected to arrive in New York on Tuesday or Wednesday for his physical, with a press conference at Yankee Stadium likely to take place on Thursday. The Yankees signed Pettitte to a one-year deal worth $16 million, with a player option for 2008 worth another $16 million.
Igawa had a record of 86-60 and a 3.15 ERA in eight seasons with the Hanshin Tigers in the Central League. He won the league's MVP award in 2003, posting a 20-5 record and 2.80 ERA in 29 starts.
Igawa, who features a 90-mph fastball and an above-average curveball, went 14-9 with a 2.97 ERA last season, striking out 194 batters to tie for the league lead. It was the third time he won the Central League's strikeout title, also doing so in 2002 and 2004.
The Yankees won Igawa's negotiating rights on Nov. 28, outbidding several other teams, including the Mets. New York and Arn Tellem, who represents Igawa, had until midnight ET on Dec. 28 to come to an agreement, or Igawa would have been returned to Hanshin.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.