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Sunday, February 27, 2011
Okajima: 'Results were clearly poor'

By Joe McDonald

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After the 2010 season, there was some debate whether the Red Sox would re-sign lefty reliever Hideki Okajima.

Okajima struggled mightily last year and dealt with many health issues, but the Sox re-signed the 35-year-old to a one-year $2.75-million contract. He made his first spring training appearance Sunday night against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium.

He allowed four runs on five hits and struck out two in his only inning of work.

“We were falling behind [in the count] early,” Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “He went with the heater a lot. It was the first time out, even [Josh Beckett] had a little nerves going. The first time out [Okajima] had the nerves going and they were able to hit some pitches up.”

Okajima said he wasn’t happy with the results.

“It was the first exhibition game and the results were clearly poor, but I was able to get out there and enjoy myself,” he said.

Okajima said his overall health is good.

Okajima finished last season with a 4-4 record and a 4.50 ERA in 56 games. He stuck out 33 and walked 20 in 46 innings.