Hideki Irabu, the former Yankees pitcher who struggled to live up to grand expectations after coming over from Japan, was found dead in Los Angeles on Thursday. He was 42. Police are investigating Irabu’s death as a possible suicide, according to various reports. Irabu came to the United States in 1997 billed as one of Japan’s premier right-handed pitchers. The Padres owned his rights, but Irabu refused to play for any team but the Yankees. San Diego traded him to the Yankees, who signed him to a four-year, $12.8 million contract.
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