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Yankees News 2012: Kei Igawa Returning To Japan

Kei Igawa, the New York Yankees' $46 million disappointment, has returned to Japan after signing a two-year contract with the Orix Buffaloes.

Igawa told Kyodo News Agency he would have preferred to stay in the United States, but apparently there were no takers for the left-handed starter.

That should come as no surprise considering that the former Yankee, now 32, managed to make just 16 major league appearances, posting a 2-4 record and 6.66 ERA. The Yankees expected much more when they paid $26 million just for the right to negotiate with Igawa, then rewarded him with a five-year, $20 million contract.

Igawa spent most of his time in America in the Yankees' minors, where he went 36-25 with a 3.83 ERA. The lefty hasn't pitched in the majors since 2008.

For more on the Yankees, be sure to check out Pinstripe Alley and SB Nation New Yorkfor news, notes and updates.