Tuesday April 12, 2011 | 05:27 PM

While Red Sox Nation is not thrilled with Daisuke Matsuzaka today, another Japanese pitcher toils in obscurity - with a $46-million price tag. Kei Igawa is a reliever for the Trenton Thunder, in Portland for a three-game series.

Igawa was signed the same year as Matsuzaka. Some may argue that the Yankees signed Igawa in response to Boston getting Dice-K.

While Boston spent big bucks - $51-million positing fee, $52-million, 6-year contract- the Yankees also opened up their checkbook, paying a $26-million posting fee, and then signing Igawa to a 5-year, $20-million contract.

Igawa, now 31, pitched 14 games for the Yankees (6.25 ERA) in 2007, then only two games in 2008 (6 ER, 4 IP). He hasn't seen the majors since. Igawa has been in Triple-A until this season, when he was dropped to Double-A Trenton. He will likely see action out of the bullpen sometime this series.

Here are the Red Sox and Sea Dogs lineups tonight. Boston is obviously going with the right-handers against lefty David Price. Portland has right-handed prospect Alex Wilson on the mound.

BOSTON: Crawford LF; Pedroia 2B; Gonzalez 1B; Youkilis DH; Lowrie 3B; Cameron CF; Varitek C; McDonald RF; Scutaro SS. Lester P.

PORTLAND: Hassan LF; Federowicz DH; Padron 1B; Lavarnway C; Chiang RF; Middlebrooks 3B; Tejeda 2B; Hee SS; Dening CF. Wilson P.

And don't forget our new twitter account - ClearTheBases.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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