Yankees linked to prized Japanese pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano

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Another potential rotation option for teams seeking starting pitching help – including the Yankees – will soon become available on the international market.

The Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan are expected to post right-handed pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano as early as this week, according to MLB.com.

The 31-year-old righty went 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and 131 strikeouts in 137 innings in 2020. In eight seasons in the NPB, Sugano has posted a 2.34 ERA, and twice has won the Sawamura Award as the best pitcher in NPB.

The Yankees, who are looking to fill three rotation spots for 2021, have had mixed success with Japanese pitchers over the past two decades. Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka have fared well as starters in the Bronx, while Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa were high-priced misses.

The 32-year-old Tanaka also is a free agent after completing a seven-year, $155 million deal. The two-time All-Star posted a 3-3 record with a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and a 78-46 mark with a 3.74 ERA since arriving in 2014.

The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants also are expected to be among the teams interested in Sugano, according to the report.

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