The Texas Rangers will wrap up the 2021 MLB season without right-hander Kohei Arihara after the team decided to designate the 29-year-old Japanese for assignment late last week. The move comes less than a year after the Rangers signed Arihara to a two-year, $6.2 million deal from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
The Rangers confirmed the move on social media through their Executive Vice President of Communications John Blake. As part of the announcement, the organization also revealed that they have reinstated pitcher Mike Foltynewicz from the COVID-19 list and added him to the active roster instead of Arihara.
This might not be the end of Arihara’s time in Texas, however. If he isn’t claimed by another team until the end of the week, the Rangers can send him to the minors and re-evaluate their commitment to him in the offseason.
After impressing in Nippon Professional Baseball, Kohei Arihara received strong interest from several MLB teams in 2020. He was pursued by the San Diego Padres and the Boston Red Sox but chose the Rangers, who made him their biggest offseason acquisition ahead of the 2021 MLB campaign.
Arihara had a hot start in MLB, posting a 2-1 record with 2.21 ERA and 13 strikeouts in his first four games for the Rangers. After struggling in the next three starts, he was diagnosed with an aneurysm in his right shoulder and underwent surgery in May.
Arihara returned to pitching in early September but failed to impress in his three games since then. He especially underperformed in a loss against the Houston Astros on September 15th, when he allowed six earned runs and two homers in four innings.