Tomo Ohka is attempting a comeback to the major leagues by developing a knuckleball, and the Rays are one of two teams that have contacted his agent, DRaysBay has learned.
Patrick Newman reported a month ago that Ohka was working on the pitch, based on a dispatch by NikkanSports.com.
Many believe that knuckleballs thrive in domed stadiums, a topic widely speculated upon after R.A. Dickey was acquired by Toronto a year ago, and Dickey often pitches with the roof closed. With that in mind, a match with the Rays may be ideal for Ohka, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009.
One of the final Expos, now 37, Ohka has reportedly been pitching in Japanese independent leagues to develop the knuckleball. Rough translation from the original Nikkan Sports article notes Ohka was planning to travel to Arizona in October to work with an unnamed coach and face college-level athletes to improve his game.
Ohka had surgery on his throwing shoulder in 2011, and is reportedly willing to accept a minor league deal.
You can watch video of Tomo and his absurdly slow knuckleball below.
ナックルボーラーに転向した大家友和投手 (via 山本一郎)
UPDATE: You know who loves knuckleballs? Toronto.
#BlueJays have verbal agreement on minor-league deal with Tomo Ohka, who is a knuckleballer now. May start at double-A New Hampshire— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) December 12, 2013
I know, I know. Save your excitement, guys.
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