Satoshi Komatsu is planning to retire. A press conference is scheduled for September 22.
Source: Sponichi 9/22/2016, Daily Sports 9/22/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/22/2016
[UPDATE 9/22 @ 4:01pm]
Komatsu held a press conference at Kyocera Dome earlier today and formally announced his decision to retire.
A few notes from various reports:
- he felt there was no reason to continue if he was not going to be able to pitch at the Ichi-gun level.
- he is grateful for the career he had and appreciates all the support he received over the years, even though he only really had one good year (2008).
- he will most likely remain in the organization. His job title has not yet been decided.
- a retirement ceremony will be held on September 29 (against Rakuten at Kyocera Dome).
- he joined the Orix organization through the 2006 draft, won the Rookie of the Year in 2008 with a 15-3 record, and made the World Baseball Classic roster in 2009. Since recording his last win on September 3, 2012, he has gone 0-2 with a 4.44 ERA in fifty Ichi-gun games. He went 25-26 in 158 games and recorded a 4.36 ERA over his career.
Source: Daily Sports 9/22/2016, Sponichi 9/22/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/22/2016
[UPDATE 9/26 @ 6:15pm]
The Ni-gun Buffaloes held a “surprise” retirement ceremony for Komatsu after their game against Hiroshima on September 25. He was tossed into the air ten times.
Source: Sponichi 9/25/2016
[UPDATE 9/30 @ 2:02am]
The Buffaloes held a retirement ceremony for Komatsu on September 29. He was tossed into the air eight times.
Source: Sponichi 9/29/2016
According to a report from Sanspo, the Chiba Lotte Marines are thinking about offer Tsutomu Ito a two-year extension. Ito has been managing the Marines since 2013.
Source: Sanspo 9/21/2016
According to Daily Sports, the Hanshin Tigers schedule after the regular season ends could look something like this:
- one week of rest beginning on October 2
- young players will participate in the Phoenix League, which begins on October 3
- fall practices begin on October 9
- fall camp begins on October 29 (one day of rest for every four days of workouts, ending on November 16)
Weight training will again be a big part of fall workouts this year.
Source: Daily Sports 9/21/2016
Alfredo Despaigne (left wrist) participated in practices on September 20. The Chiba Lotte Marines will determine if he is ready to return to the active roster after they see him work out today.
Source: Sponichi 9/21/2016
Tomotaka Sakaguchi earned his international FA option earlier this year in April. He recently told the media that he has no plans to exercise the option because he wants show his gratitude and repay the Yakult Swallows for giving him another chance.
Source: Sponichi 9/21/2016
Oscar Nakaoshi told the media on September 20 that he turned down multiple invitations to play in the World Baseball Classic qualifier for Brazil. A part of him wants to pitch for his country, but his focus right now is to help the Hiroshima Carp win a Nippon Series.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/21/2016
The Tokyo Pro Yakyu Press Club held an executive committee meeting on September 20 and made changes to the Best Nine selection rules. The changes will open the door to the possibility of a player like Shohei Otani winning Best Nine as both a pitcher and designated hitter.
Best Nine selection rule changes:
- Best Nine
- [Old Rule] Best Nine ballots will become invalid: if one player appears in two positions, if one position is left blank, if a player is selected out of position (no games played at the position this year), or if “no one” appears in a position.
- [New Rule] Best Nine ballots will become invalid: if one player appears in two non-pitcher positions, if one position is left blank, if a player is selected out of position (no games played at the position this year), or if “no one” appears in a position. A player can be selected in a pitcher and a non-pitcher position.
- Best Nine Designated Hitter
- [Old Rule] For Best Nine Designated Hitter, please select a player not selected in the Best Nine. If a player is selected in the Best Nine and Best Nine DH, if DH is left blank, if a player without any time at DH this season is selected, then the Best Nine and Best Nine DH ballots will become invalid. One player can not be selected to both Best Nine and Best Nine DH.
- [New Rule] For Best Nine Designated Hitter, please select a player not in the Best Nine at a non-pitcher position. If a player is selected to a Best Nine non-pitcher position and Best Nine DH, if DH is left blank, if a player without any time at DH this season is selected, then the Best Nine and Best Nine DH ballots will become invalid. Pitcher and Best Nine DH will be accepted. One player can be selected as a Best Nine and Best Nine DH.
Source: Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2019, Daily Sports 9/20/2016, Sponichi 9/20/2016
The Hiroshima Carp announced earlier today that forty-one-year-old Yoshikazu Kura and thirty-seven-year-old Jun Hirose will be retiring this year. Neither played in any Ichi-gun games this season. They approached team officials and submitted their intent to retire.
A press conference will be held for the two players in the near future.
Source: Sponichi 9/20/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Daily Sports 9/20/2016
[UPDATE 9/26 @ 7:38pm]
Kura and Hirose held a press conferences at Mazda Stadium on September 25.
Notes on Kura:
- He never really had fun while playing baseball and hoped to have a little fun during the last game of his career.
- He learned a lot from Hiroki Kuroda. He believes he never would have lasted nineteen years without his help at the beginning.
- He was not with the team when it won the pennant. He watched the game on television. He was disappointed he could not be there, but as he watched, he felt like he was there celebrating with the team.
- He had been thinking about retiring because he has been unable to help the Ichi-gun team the last few years. He only kept going because he promised himself he would keep playing until Kuroda came back. The final nail in the coffin was when he failed to spent any time at Ichi-gun this year.
- The game he remembers the most is the one where Kuroda picked up his fifteenth victory of the season on October 7, 2005.
- His happiest memory is catching Kenta Maeda’s no-hitter on April 6, 2012.
Kura made the starting line-up at catcher for the Yakult game on September 25 and caught Hiroki Kuroda for the first time since September 27, 2007. He was in the game for just one batter (result: walk). The game was later canceled due to rain.
Notes on Hirose:
- He is looking forward to his retirement game and hopes that he can enjoy it. He would like to finish his career with a smile on his face.
- He started the year at Ni-gun and physically felt great, but he started feeling aches and pains toward the end of the season. He decided to retire because his body no longer moved in the way that he wanted it to. He made his final decision after he considered his options and talked it over with a team official and his family.
- He spent the last two years at Ni-gun, but did not want that fact to define him. He wanted all the years he spent on baseball to mean something and he did not want younger players to pick up bad habits from him, or let fans down by doing something he might later regret. He spent the last two years trying to figure out what baseball meant to him by facing his career head on with sincerity.
- He is extremely grateful to everyone that helped him during his sixteen year career, especially since he struggled with injuries.
- He still strongly remembers setting a new NPB record by reaching base in fifteen consecutive trips to the plate in 2013, between April 21 and April 26. He remembers feeling like he wanted to run away when he extended his streak to fifteen and then dreading the next trip to the plate, only to fly out to first on the first pitch.
Source: Hiroshima announcement (Kura), Hiroshima announcement (Hirose), Nikkan Sports 9/25/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/25/2016, Daily Sports 9/25/2016, Daily Sports 9/25/2016, Daily Sports 9/25/2016
[UPDATE 10/2 @ 7:18pm]
The Carp held a retirement ceremony for Hirose after their game against Yakult on October 1. He was tossed into the air seven times.
Source: Sponichi 10/2/2016
The Yakult Swallows may have to part ways with Wladimir Balentien after the current season. There are concerns about his defense and erratic hitting, combined with his high salary. They will discuss an extension, but may not be able to reach an agreement.
Side note: salary will most likely be the biggest hurdle. Remember, the Swallows have to deal with Tetsuto Yamada’s rising salary and may also be interested in Chunichi’s Ryosuke Hirata, should he decide to exercise his FA option.
If Balentien becomes available, he could be an interesting option as a designated hitter for Pacific League teams.
The Swallows are expected to offer Josh Lueke an extension. They will probably pass on Kyle Davies and Luis Perez.
Source: Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Daily Sports 9/20/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2016
[UPDATE 9/22 @ 1:14am]
The Swallows understand it might be difficult to replace a hitter like Balentien. If he asks for a multi-year deal, they might be willing to accept depending on the terms.
Source: Sanspo 9/21/2016
[UPDATE 9/22 @ 10:56pm]
Balentien is prepared to finish his career with the Swallows because they are the team that gave him the chance to play in Japan, a country he now considers his second home.
Source: Sponichi 9/22/2016, Daily Sports 9/22/2016, Sports Hochi 9/22/2016
Takashi Ogino hurt his right leg while running to first base during a game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on September 19. He was examined a hospital in Tokyo today and diagnosed with a strain in his right biceps femoris. He will most likely require about three weeks for a full recovery and was taken off the active roster.
Source: Sponichi 9/20/2016, Daily Sports 9/20/2016