Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – Infielder Munenori Kawasaki has re-signed with the Toronto Blue Jays on a Minor League contract, taking his chances in camp for a job off the bench.
Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
With the deal, Kawasaki, who was earlier reported to be weighing at least one offer to play in Japan, received an invitation to Spring Training with a chance to compete for a spot on the team.
The 32-year-old Kawasaki became somewhat of a cult sensation in Toronto this past year after filling in for the injured Jose Reyes, winning fans with his antics both on and off the field.
Kawasaki will likely begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo, but he could also compete with Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis for the starting job at second base.
Kawasaki hit just .229 with one homer and 24 RBIs in 96 games for the Blue Jays in 2013 but he provided the Blue Jays with a steady defense.
The biggest positive of Kawasaki’s game is his ability to work deep into counts and draw walks, as evidenced by his .326 on-base percentage last season.
Toronto could have guaranteed Kawasaki’s return earlier this offseason, but the club declined to exercise its $1-million option on his contract.