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Ex-Yankees Pitcher Hideki Irabu Found Dead in Rancho Palos Verdes

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Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead of an apparent suicide in Rancho Palos Verdes, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Irabu, 42, was found Wednesday afternoon at a home in Rancho Palos Verdes, said Sgt. Mike Arriaga. TMZ is reporting that Irabu hanged himself and was found by a friend

After a much-heralded career pitching in Japan, Irabu played in the major leagues from 1997 to 2002. He went 29-20 in three seasons with the Yankees and was on the Yankees' 1998 and 1999 World Series championship teams but only pitched in one postseason game.

In 2009, Irabu attempted a comeback of sorts, signing with the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League.

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He was arrested in Gardena last year on suspicion of DUI, writes ESPN:

In May 2010, Irabu was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena. Police said he was stopped after his car drifted outside of traffic lanes and he nearly collided with a parked car. He posted $5,000 bail but it was not immediately clear whether he was criminally charged.

Irabu was signed by the Yankees after refusing to play for the San Diego Padres, who purchased his contract from the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese Pacific League. Despite the fanfare surrounding his arrival, many fans were underwhelmed by his performance -- in this clip from the final episode of "Seinfeld," Frank Costanza shouts "how can you give $12 million to Hideki Irabu?" at George Steinbrenner.