The A's agreed to terms with left-hander Hideki Okajima, the former Boston reliever, on Monday, but there will be no official announcement until he passes his physical.
Okajima, who posted an 0.94 ERA for Fukuoka in Japan last season, reached a minor-league deal with Oakland. It's likely that Okajima, 37, has an out clause should he fail to make the big-league club within a certain time frame.
The A's are loaded with relievers after acquiring right-hander Chris Resop earlier in the offseason and Fernando Rodriguez in the Jed Lowrie deal with Houston last week. Oakland will carry seven relievers, so there will be quite a competition for the final few spots among Rodriguez, Okajima, Evan Scribner, Travis Blackley, Pat Neshek and others.
Jordan Norberto's shoulder-tendinitis issues last year were a concern, and Okajima might provide depth in the event of more such trouble.
Norberto said Monday that he feels great and that the tendinitis was knocked out after seven weeks of rehab. Manager Bob Melvin said Norberto might be brought along a little more slowly than some other A's pitchers this spring.
Colon reports: Bartolo Colon, who must serve five more games of a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing substances, declined to speak to reporters Monday.
His teammates are largely supportive, though Colon's suspension came during the stretch drive. "You can't be mad or hold grudges regardless, whatever way you feel about it," starter Brett Anderson said. "Hopefully, he's ready to come back and help us on the field."
"I love Bartolo, it's awesome, I gave him a big hug - I'm glad he's back," closer Grant Balfour said. "He was a huge loss, and you think, 'Hey, if we'd had him ...' because he's a great player and he was missed. There are no hard feelings over it.
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A's bullpen overflowing
San Francisco Chronicle | Feb 12