Pirates sign Japanese pitcher to minor league contract

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates signed left-hander Yao-Hsun Yang on Thursday to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Yang, 31, has spent his entire career with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball. He struck out 45 batters in 42 and 2/3 innings during nine games, seven starts, in 2012 and had a 1.48 ERA. He pitched in the Japanese minor leagues last season.

The Pirates now have 31 pitchers in camp.

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