Kenshin Kawakami More Than Likely Headed To Atlanta

Oh well, getting one out of your two targeted Japanese pitchers isn’t bad. It looks Kenshin Kawakami — a coveted pitcher that the Orioles wanted — is going to Atlanta, a team in dire need of pitching.

Ah yes, the Orioles are in dire need of it as well.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media outlets reported Saturday the Braves had reached a preliminary agreement with the 33-year-old right-hander.

Cox said he couldn’t confirm the deal, but said the team is interested. “We’ve had some guys watch him the last couple of years, and they like him,” Cox said. Cox said he has watched Kawakami on film “and he looked very good. He was able to throw the ball right where he wanted to with three or four pitches.”

Kawakami’s agent, former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans, declined comment Saturday. Braves GM Frank Wren did not respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press, and assistant general manager Bruce Manno said he had no comment on Kawakami.

Kawakami, the 2004 Central League MVP, has a 112-82 career record with a 3.22 ERA in 11 seasons in Japan. He was 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA for the Chunichi Dragons in 2008, despite missing several weeks with a back strain.

If there’s anything else I wish for in 2009, Baltimore needs another veteran arm to complement the two sure things in the rotation — Guthrie and Uehara. Hendrickson, Burres, Liz, Olson and whomever else can fight for the spots in the back end of the rotation.