Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/18/12
OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics introduced Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima at a press conference Tuesday after finalizing a two-year contract, with a club option for a third year, earlier in the day. The A's signed the 30-year-old Japan League veteran to fill the void at shortstop created by the departures of Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew. "When we finished the season, we knew we didn't need to make many changes," general manager Billy Beane said. "One area we knew we had to replace was shortstop. This is a gentleman we have been watching for a couple of years. "The more things we uncovered the longer we got into the winter, the more we realized this was the guy," Beane added. "We were a little concerned early on the competition might make it challenging for us financially. But as pieces started laying down with other clubs and positions were filled, I think that helped us." Nakajima leaves the Japanese League after 11 seasons with the Pacific League's Seibu Lions, where he had a .302 career batting average, 738 RBIs and hit 162 home runs. He was an eight-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner. "Earlier in my career in Japan, I thought of myself as an offensive player,” said Nakajima through an interpreter. "The past couple of years, I have put a priority on my defense skills. At this point, I feel like I am balanced. I love playing defense." Nakajima showed character at the start of the press conference, opening with his own statement that he practiced in English. "Hi Oakland. My name is Hiroyuki Nakajima but you can call me Hero. I'm honored to be here today and very thankful for everyone coming today. Thank you very much, Mr. Beane.” Nakajima later shared through an interpreter that he signed with Oakland primarily due to its reputation of having team chemistry. "I heard a lot about it," he said. "Part of the reason they made it to the postseason was team chemistry, youth and energy. I'm fascinated and excited to be part of that." It was the second straight year that the A's added a highly regarded international player after Oakland signed Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes last season.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Vikings don’t want Bridgewater playing on London field

Joe Mixon: ‘I can do way more’ than Le’Veon Bell with increased workload

Joe Thomas will reportedly miss rest of season with torn triceps

What should the Phoenix Suns do about Eric Bledsoe?

Are the Steelers going to give Martavis Bryant what he wants?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fifteen biggest surprises so far in 2017-18 NBA season

Top 10 storylines for 2017 World Series

Report: Nationals to interview Dave Martinez for manager job

Baldwin: Sideline spat with Cable was ‘100 percent my fault’

Elliott will play in Week 8 after judge denies request to expedite case

Genie Bouchard recalls SB bet during latest Pats-Falcons game

MLS Decision Day: East to be a rumble while West up for grabs

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

MLS Decision Day: East to be a rumble while West up for grabs

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker