The veteran southpaw will now have an easier time negotiating a return to Major League Baseball.
The SoftBank Hawks -- an NPB club located in Fukuoka, Japan -- have released veteran left-hander Hideki Okajima so that he may pursue an MLB comeback, relays Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker from a Nikkan Sports report.
Okajima spent five seasons with Boston from 2007-2011, starting his tenure as a go-to, high-leverage reliever but eventually falling out of favor in his final two campaigns with the club. Overall, Okajima put up a 3.11 ERA and 2.50 K/BB ratio over 246⅓ innings in his half-decade with the Sox.
The southpaw signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees prior to the 2012 season, but was released shortly thereafter when a medical check revealed abnormalities in his throwing shoulder, per Nikkan Sports.
Okajima showed no signs of a shoulder problem upon his return to Japan, posting a 0.94 ERA and 6.00 K/BB ratio in 47⅔ innings with the SoftBank Hawks.