[9/13/2018] Additional details for 2018 Pro Yakyu Draft

The NPB released additional details for the 2018 Pro Yakyu Draft on September 13.

  • Pro Yakyu Draft supported by Lipovitan D
  • October 25 (Thursday) at 17:00
  • Broadcasts:
    • TV: TBS, Sky A
    • Radio: Nippon Hoso
    • Internet: Paravi, Baseball Gate, Sports Bull

The NPB will also again randomly hand out a limited number of invitations to fans that register their information between 12:00pm on September 14 (Friday) and 12:00pm on September 28.

Source: NPB 9/13/2018


[9/26/2018] Hitoki Iwase and Masahiro Araki also planning to retire

According to a report by Tokyo Sports, forty-three-year-old Hitoki Iwase and forty-one-year-old Masahiro Araki are planning to retire at the end of the season. Both players are expected to remain in the organization, Iwase as a pitching coach and Araki as an infield/base coach. The Dragons could schedule a retirement game for Araki some time in March next year during an exhibition game at Nagoya Dome. Iwase’s retirement game will most likely come during the last home game of the season on September 30.

Source: Tokyo Sports 9/26/2018


[9/26/2018] Takukya Asao planning to retire at the end of the season

Thirty-three-year-old Takuya Asao is planning to retire at the end of the season. He is expected to hold a press conference later today.

Asao was arguably was one of the best set-up men in the NPB at his peak, particularly in 2010 and 2011, but he started having problems with his right shoulder in 2012 (likely from overwork) and has never been the same since. His fastball, which used to hit the low-150s, was down to the mid-130s.

In an interview with Tokyo Sports posted on August 29, in response to a comment about throwing a lot of off-speed pitches, Asao said he felt his image was changing. When asked about his thoughts on the fastball, he said it was still a very important pitch for him and that even if he could not throw it as hard as he did before, he still wanted to use it, like as a pitch to get batters to hit the ball foul.

Asao was also asked about his thoughts on Hiromitsu Ochiai overworking him and he said that he did not see it that way and instead felt grateful for the opportunities because it made him the pitcher he is today. He also said he had no regrets.

Source: Sponichi 9/26/2018, Sports Hochi 9/26/2018, Daily Sports 9/26/2018, Nikkan Sports 9/26/2018, Tokyo Sports 8/29/2018


[9/26/2018] Kazuo Matsui to retire at the end of the season

The media learned on September 25 that forty-two-year-old Kazuo Matsui is planning to retire at the end of the season. The Seibu Lions are expected to make some sort of an announcement soon.

Matsui has been limited to twenty-three games this year. He has been traveling with the team since he was taken off the active roster on September 15 to make room for a starting pitcher.

Source: Sanspo 9/26/2018, Nikkan Sports 9/26/2018, Daily Sports 9/26/2018, Sponichi 9/26/2018

[UPDATE @ 11:21am]

The Lions announced that Matsui is planning to retire at the end of the season. He is scheduled to hold a press conference at MetLife Dome on September 27.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/26/2018, Sponichi 9/26/2018, Sports Hochi 9/26/2018


[9/25/2018] Hiroshima Carp hit two million in attendance

The Hiroshima Carp hit two million in attendance for the fourth year in a row.

Source: Hiroshima 9/25/2018



[9/25/2018] Kenji Otonari and Yoshifumi Okada to retire

The Chiba Lotte Marines announced today that thirty-three-year-old Kenji Otonari and thirty-four-year-old Yoshifumi Okada will retire at the end of the season. The Marines released the following statements from the two players.


Thank you for all the support you provided over my twelve-year career. It was not easy career, but I was able to get through it with the help and support from various people. I am really grateful. Thank you very much.


Ten years was a short time, but I had a good baseball career. The Chiba Lotte Marines selected me during the Ikusei draft and they gave me an opportunity to play baseball. I hope to use what I learned during the next part of my life. I have no regrets. I feel I was able to have such a fulfilling career because of all the support the fans provided. Thank you for cheering for me.

Source: Lotte 9/25/2018


[9/25/2018] Junichi Fukura to step down as Orix manager

The media learned on September 24 that Junichi Fukura is planning to step down as manager of the Orix Buffaloes at the end of the season. The organization was interested in bringing him back next year, but Fukura turned them down because of the team’s performance this year.

The Buffaloes reached out to Fukura earlier this month with a request for him to stay (they were pleased with the development of young talent). Initial reports indicated that Fukura asked for more time, but the media learned on September 24 that he turned them down. They two sides met a number of times after that, but nothing changed. Fukura told reporters today that he was taking responsibility for the team’s performance because it was all about the results.

Source: Daily Sports 9/25/2018, Daily Sports 9/25/2018, Sports Hochi 9/25/2018, Sponichi 9/25/2018, Sanspo 9/25/2018, Sanspo 9/25/2018, Nikkan Sports 9/25/2018

[UPDATE 9/26 @ 4:06am]

Team official Hiroyuki Nagamura spoke to the media at Kyocera Dome on September 25 and told reporters that they received a resignation request from Fukura in early September and accepted his request four to five days ago (they gave him some time, but his feelings never changed). Nagamura also told reporters that they are hoping he accepts their offer to join the front office.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/25/2018, Sports Hochi 9/25/2018, Tokyo Sports 9/25/2018


[9/24/2018] Chunichi Dragons reach two million mark in attendance

The Chunichi Dragons reached the two million mark in attendance in their sixty-seventh home game of the year. It took the Dragons seventy-two games to reach the same milestone last season.

Source: Chunichi 9/24/2018



[9/24/2018] Kyuji Fujikawa taken off active roster with elbow pain

Kyuji Fujikawa was taken off the active roster today with pain in his right elbow. The Hanshin Tigers are taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding what step to take next.

Source: Sanspo 9/24/2018, Nikkan Sports 9/24/2018, Sponichi 9/24/2018, Daily Sports 9/24/2018, Tokyo Sports 9/24/2018


[9/23/2018] Yasuhiro Ogawa scratched from start with tight lower back

Yasuhiro Ogawa was expected to start a game against the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome on September 24, but was replaced by Yuma Oshita. Ogawa’s last two starts were rained out (September 20 and 21). He played catch and ran short dashes during pre-game practices today, but will not get a start tomorrow because of tightness in his lower back. Junji Ogawa told reporters there was nothing he could say today.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/23/2018

[UPDATE 9/24 @ 11:26am]

The Yakult Swallows are not planning to take Ogawa off the active roster and will wait to see if his condition improves.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/24/2018, Sponichi 9/24/2018, Sanspo 9/24/2018


[9/23/2018] Schedule Changes

The following additions were made to the Central and Pacific League schedule.

  • October 1 – Yomiuri Giants vs Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium – 18:00 (September 21 rain out)
  • October 4 – Seibu Lions vs Chiba Lotte Marines at ZOZO Marine – 18:15 (September 20 rain out)

Source: NPB 9/22/2018, Lotte 9/22/2018, NPB 9/23/2018, Yakult 9/23/2018

NPB Standings [Full]
Hiroshima 143 88 51 4
Hanshin 143 78 61 4
Yokohama 143 73 65 5
Yomiuri 143 72 68 3
Chunichi 143 59 79 5
Yakult 143 45 96 2
Softbank 143 94 49 0
Seibu 143 79 61 3
Rakuten 143 77 63 3
Orix 143 63 79 1
Nippon Ham 143 60 83 0
Lotte 143 54 87 2
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