Bidding starts for Japanese pitcher Igawa's MLB rights

NEW YORK -- Kei Igawa became the latest Japanese pitcher put up for bid to major league teams.

The Hanshin Tigers made Igawa available for posting Friday, and big league clubs have until 5 p.m. EST on Nov. 27 to submit offers for the right to negotiate a contract with the 27-year-old left-hander.

If his Japanese club accepts the highest bid by Dec. 1, the big league team that made it would then have 30 days to reach a deal with him.

Igawa went 14-9 last season with a 2.97 ERA in Japan. He struck out 194 to tie for the Central League lead, adding to the strikeout titles he won in 2002 and 2004.

Igawa's career mark is 86-60 with a 3.15 ERA. He would have had to play in Japan for three more seasons before he could become a free agent.

The Boston Red Sox bid $51.1 million to win the right to negotiate with Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, the MVP of the World Baseball Classic. After winning the auction this week, the Red Sox have until midnight on Dec. 14 to agree to a deal with Matsuzaka and his agent, Scott Boras.

Also this week, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays won the rights to Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura of the Yakult Swallows with a bid of about $4.5 million.