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Micheal Nakamura

Micheal Nakamura - RHP
Hometown: Nara, Japan
Debut: 7 June 2003
Final Game: 31 July 2004
Teams played for: Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (NPB), Yomiuri Giants (NPB), Saitama Seibu Lions (NPB)

Japanese-born and Aussie-bred Micheal Nakamura used his two years of MLB experience as a springboard to a successful career as a revered closer in Japan's highest league.

Born in Japan to a Japanese father and an Australian mother, Nakamura moved to Australia around age three and grew up in the Melbourne area. He moved to the US to play baseball at the University of South Alabama but maintained athletic ties to home by representing Australia on the mound at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Nakamura signed with the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent in December 1997, making his professional debut for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 1998 and reaching Triple-A three years later. The Twins called him up in the beginning of June in 2003, and he earned his first career save in his debut, pitching 1 1/3 innings against the San Diego Padres to preserve a 6-2 Minnesota win. The right-hander played for the Twins as a late-inning reliever for the rest of the month before the team sent him back to the Minors at the end of June.

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Nakamura off from the Twins at the beginning of the 2004 season, and he spent most of the first half of the season in the Majors, going 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA in 19 games before heading to Triple-A for the rest of the season.

After the Blue Jays did not re-sign him following the 2004 season, Nakamura registered for the Nippon Professional Baseball draft, returning to his birthplace to continue pursuing professional baseball. He began his NPB career with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, spending four seasons as a valuable arm in the back of the bullpen and winning the Japanese championship series in 2006. That year, Nakamura was nearly unstoppable as the Fighters' closer, saving 39 games and posting a 2.19 ERA. After his stint with the Fighters, Nakamura also played for the Yomiuri Giants for three seasons and the Saitama Seibu Lions for one, retiring after the 2012 campaign.

View Micheal Nakamura's career statistics from Baseball Reference