Borah High grad Stephen Fife didn’t remain a free agent for long.
The 30-year-old, right-handed pitcher has signed with the Seibu Lions of Japan’s top professional baseball league, the club announced Tuesday in a press conference.
“The opportunity was just better here,” Fife said at Tuesday’s press conference. “With the Marlins, I had a chance to continue to pitch at Triple-A and maybe get a chance to pitch in the big leagues. But the opportunity to come here and pitch in the big leagues and experience a new culture and a new style of game is more intriguing for me. I’m excited to be here for it.”
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Fife played this spring with the Miami Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate, going 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA. He last pitched for the New Orleans Baby Cakes on June 8 before the Marlins released him Friday and he agreed to a deal with Seibu on Saturday.
Fife pitched in 36 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2012-14, going 4-6 with a 3.66 ERA before injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2015, derailed his career.
He went 9-0 and led Borah to a the 5A state championship in 2005, its most recent state title. He also played on a Boise team that reached the Little League World Series in 1999.
The Seibu Lions have won 13 Japan Series championships and developed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and infielder Kazuo Matsui before selling them to MLB clubs.