Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
Takashi Saito was part of the Red Sox bullpen in 2009 and was one of its most consistent members. Prior to 2009, Saito played for the Dodgers and was an excellent closer for them for three years. The right-hander also had very good strikeout rates, typically well more than one strikeout per inning.
Saito came to the Red Sox, not as a closer, but as a setup man. He was part of a group of four Japanese pitchers for the Red Sox in 2009, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, and Junichi Tazawa. Saito pitched very well, and was easily the most consistent bullpen arm.
Saito went 3-3 with a 2.43 ERA, two saves, and 52 strikeouts in 55.1 innings pitched. He gave up 50 hits and 25 walks. Saito was not re-signed after the season which was a bit of a disappointment as he continued pitching well in 2010.