Former Pirates pitcher Leroux to sign in Japan

Canadian right-hander Chris Leroux agreed to a deal with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

After spending parts of five seasons at the MLB level, Canadian right-hander Chris Leroux is heading to Japan. Leroux has agreed to sign with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League.

Agent Fred Wray of Octagon Baseball confirmed to Sportsnet that an agreement is in place. Leroux, who was a member of Team Canada during this year’s World Baseball Classic, will be a starter for the Swallows.

Leroux obtains a $500,000 guarantee for 2013 and his contract includes significant incentives and a multi-tiered vesting option for 2014. The 29-year-old is expected to leave for Tokyo this week then work out at Yakult’s training facility while waiting for his visa to go through.

The Pittsburgh Pirates designated Leroux for assignment on April 12th, but he elected free agency instead of accepting a minor league assignment.

Leroux appeared in two games this year, allowing three earned runs in four innings of relief for the Pirates before they removed him from the roster. In parts of five seasons at the MLB level, Leroux has a 5.56 ERA with a strikeout rate of 8.1 K/9 and a walk rate of 4.3 BB/9 over the course of 69.2 innings.

The Florida Marlins selected Leroux in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. The Montreal native made his MLB debut with the Marlins, but the Pirates claimed him off of waivers in September of 2010.

The 2012 Swallows featured former MLB players Wladimir Balentien and Lastings Milledge and finished with a 68-65 record.

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