White Sox take a pass on Takatsu
Reliever works out in Tucson but will not return to club
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The gongs at U.S. Cellular Field that announced the arrival of Shingo Takatsu into a game for the White Sox during the 2004 and 2005 seasons won't be sounding for Triple-A Charlotte this season.
Takatsu, 39, threw a side session for the White Sox on Saturday. But the team announced during Saturday's Cactus League game against the Cubs that it would be taking a pass on signing the veteran hurler.
"We have 17 guys already in the mix and we are trying to get down to 12, according to [White Sox Minor League pitching coordinator Kirk] Champion," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of the numbers crunch for Charlotte, leading, in part, to the Takatsu decision. "So, I'm not sure exactly what that's going to hold."
Standing as the first Japanese import to suit up for the White Sox, Takatsu posted a 6-4 record with a 2.31 ERA over 59 games during his rookie season on the South Side. Takatsu also produced 19 saves after assuming the closer's role in midseason.
But Takatsu lost location on his fastball during the 2005 campaign, making his famous Frisbee pitch less effective. He was released after appearing in 31 games, holding a 5.97 ERA. His continued popular status within the organization was not enough to earn him a second look from the White Sox.
"When Shingo was right, what he could do is really command his fastball good and shoot it through those spots where the catcher was setting up," Cooper said. "Shingo looks like the same guy, with maybe a little less velocity without having a gun out there. He still has the eephus pitches."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.