D'Antona Signs with Tokyo Yakult Swallows

by Andrew Wirtanen in


Tokyo Yakult SwallowsJamie D'Antona was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks and has signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan's Central League. D'Antona was one of the main subjects in Jim Collins' The Last Best League, which chronicled Chatham's 2002 season (see our CodBall Conversation with the author). In 2008, D'Antona was named to the All-Star Futures Game, played in the PCL All-Star Game, and won the AAA Home Run Derby. In 110 AAA games 2008, D'Antona hit .365 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI's [Baseball-Reference.com]. He played in 18 MLB games and had succesful knee surgery following the '08 season. A Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog speculates that Arizona was concerned with D'Antona's glove and eagerness at the plate. The blog also notes that Arizona had an abundance of utility infielders.

D'Antona will join a couple of former Major Leaguers on the roster in Tokyo, including Aaron Guiel (ex-NYY) and Masao Kida (ex-DET, LAD, and SEA). There have been a number of famous professional baseball players on the Yakult Swallows (see the list on Wikipedia), including Tampa Bay Rays 2nd baseman Akinori Iwamuru.

More information on the Yakult Swallows is on JapanBall (see our CodBall conversation with JapanBall.com editor Bob Bavasi).