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Ex-Yankee Hideki Irabu found dead, suicide eyed

LOS ANGELES - Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead of an apparent suicide in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department told Thursday.

The body of Irabu, 42, was found at 4:25 p.m. PDT Wednesday, county sheriff's Sgt. Michael Arriaga said.

"He was found dead by an apparent suicide," he said.

Irabu lived in Rancho Palos Verdes but it was not immediately clear whether it was his home, the sergeant said.

Other details were not immediately released.

Messages left at the county coroner's office were not immediately returned.

Irabu played for the Yankees, Expos and Rangers, last pitching in the big leagues in 2002.

The Padres purchased his contract in 1997, but he refused to sign, saying he'd only play for the Yankees. The Padres eventually traded for Irabu's rights and signed him to a four-year deal worth $12.8 million. He played in six seasons in the big leagues and went 34-35 with a 5.15 ERA.

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.

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