[9/29/2016] Dai-Kang Yoh planning to exercise FA option

According to a report by Sponichi, twenty-nine-year-old Dai-Kang Yoh is planning to exercise his free agent option. There are rumors that he may be interested in playing for the Softbank Hawks because of family issues (Fukuoka is closer to Taiwan than Hokkaido). He attended a high school in Fukuoka, was a fan of the Hawks, and was selected by the Hawks in the 2005 draft (the Fighters won the drawing).

Incidentally, Sports Hochi is reporting that the Hawks might be interested in Yoh.

Source: Sponichi 9/29/2016, Sports Hochi 9/29/2016

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 6:47am]

The Eagles might be willing to offer Yoh a three- to four-year deal worth over one billion yen.

Source: Sanspo 9/30/2016

[UPDATE 10/1 @ 11:15pm]

Yoh has an apartment in Sapporo. He lives there with his wife and six-year-old daughter. He also has a house in Taiwan. Next year, he might end up living alone so that his daughter can go to school in Taiwan. He has said a number of times in the past that Hokkaido was far and that travel was easier from Fukuoka.

Source: ZakZak 10/1/2016

[UPDATE 10/30 @ 4:53pm]

Yoh has told some people close to him that he is planning to exercise his free agent option with the intent of moving to another team. Among teams that might be interested include Orix, Hanshin, and Rakuten.

Yoh will be a class B free agent, which does require compensation.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/30/2016

[UPDATE 10/30 @ 6:13pm]

Daily Sports is carrying a report which seems to indicate that Yoh told reporters he spoke to his family about his option and will probably exercise his option. He also told reporters he was grateful to the organization for their support over the years and that he wanted to sign with a team that needed him the most.

Source: Daily Sports 10/30/2016

[UPDATE 10/30 @ 9:35pm]

Yoh met with the Fighters at Sapporo Dome today. He later told reporters that his first choice was to stay because the Fighters were originally the team he wanted to play for.

Source: Daily Sports 10/30/2016

[UPDATE 10/31 @ 3:40pm]

When Yoh spoke to Nippon Ham officials on Sunday, he told them his feelings, listened to their reactions, then asked for more time to work things out. Discussions with the Fighters are still ongoing.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/31/2016

[UPDATE 11/6 @ 12:00am]

The media learned on November 4 that Yoh decided to exercise his free agent option. He could file the paperwork on November 7. A number of teams, like Rakuten and Orix, will probably be interested.

Yoh wanted to sign a multi-year deal last year, but was only offered a one-year contract.

Source: Sponichi 11/5/2016


[9/29/2016] Kimiyasu Kudo expected to return next year

Kimiyasu Kudo is in the second year of a three-year contract. A Softbank official told reporters on September 28 that they had no plans to terminate his contract early. The two sides are expected to meet after the season to finalize a decision.

Source: Sponichi 9/28/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/28/2016


[9/28/2016] Alfredo Despaigne misses game with wrist discomfort

Alfredo Despaigne was left out of the starting line-up tonight against the Softbank Hawks because of discomfort in his left wrist. Yamaico Navarro was called up at the last minute to take his spot in the line-up.

 Source: Sports Hochi 9/28/2016

[UPDATE 10/1 @ 12:09am]

Despaigne missed Friday’s game against Nippon Ham at Sapporo Dome. He could end up sitting out the last two games of the season as well. Lotte is hoping that he will be okay for the Climax Series.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/30/2016


[9/28/2016] Nippon Ham Fighters take first in the PL

The Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Seibu Lions at Seibu Prince Dome 1-0 and secured first place in the Pacific League.

Shohei Otani started the game for the Fighters and picked up the sixth shutout of his career and first of the season. He gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out fifteen.

Hideki Kuriyama was tossed into the air eight times. Masaru Takeda three times.

[UPDATE 9/29 @ 2:02am]

Nippon Ham will celebrate their pennant win with a three-day championship sale. The sale will begin on September 29 and will cover eight products, including Irodori Kitchen Roasted Ham, Schau Essen, and Ishigama Kobo Margherita Pizza. The sale will take place at supermarkets and department stores all across Japan.

Additional items, include roast beef and ham, will go on sale at twenty-eight of their stores located in department stores in Japan.

Source: Sponichi 9/28/2016


[9/28/2016] Naruohama could be used as a WBC practice field

The Hanshin Tigers’ Naruohama facilities could be used as a practice field for the World Baseball Classic next year. Officials from the WBC visited the facilities on September 27.

Practice games for the First Round will take place at Kyocera Dome between March 3 and 6. Tournament organizers are looking for a field close to the dome that teams can use for practice. The Naruohama facilities are a top candidate.

Source: Sanspo 9/28/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/28/2016


[9/28/2016] Mitsutaka Goto and Takashi Kawai not in Eagles plans for 2017

Thirty-eight-year-old Mitsutaka Goto and forty-year-old Takashi Kawai are reportedly not a part of the Rakuten Eagles plans for the 2017 season and will most likely be released. It is not known if the two players want to continue playing or retire.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/28/2016

[UPDATE 9/29 @ 11:46pm]

The media learned on September 28 that Kawaii is planning to retire. He apparently made the decision after he starting the last Ni-gun game of the season and pitching an inning.

Goto would like to continue playing.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/29/2016, Sponichi 9/29/2016

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 2:21am]

The Eagles announced on September 29 that Kawaii was retiring. A press conference will be held on October 2.

Source: Rakuten announcement

[UPDATE 10/3 @ 6:21am]

Notes from Kawaii’s press conference.

  • He took a gamble on this season after he failed to win a game last year. He decided to retire because he was unable to help the team.
  • He turned it up a notch after the Eagles decided to keep him even though he was unproductive in 2007 and 2008. He feels no regrets because he was able to play eight more seasons after that.
  • Senichi Hoshino probably coined the phrase, “When in trouble, call on Bob (Kawaii).” It could not have been about consistency, since he never pitched through full seasons, but he took the mound every time he was called and happened to be in good condition each time.
  • He thought his career was over after the 2007 and 2008 seasons. At that time, he never even considered pitching until he was forty. It was not until a few years ago that he started thinking about it. He never thought about it when he first turned pro and is very satisfied with how things turned out.
  • He was never a consistently good pitcher, but his ability to move on, after good starts and bad starts, kept him moving forward.
  • He started his career with Lotte and was traded to Rakuten in 2006. When his career with Rakuten started, he noticed how young everyone. He wanted to grow with the team and was fortunate to experience a championship in 2013 with the same players he saw when he first joined the team.

Source: Rakuten announcement


[9/28/2016] Kenta Kurihara to retire

The media learned today that thirty-four-year-old Kenta Kurihara is planning to retire. An official announcement will be made within the next few days.

Kurihara left the Hiroshima Carp last year and found a new home with the Rakuten Eagles after passing a tryout. He vowed to make a comeback, but never got the call. The Eagles like his work ethic and are thinking about offering him a coaching position.

Kurihara was selected by the Hiroshima Carp in the third round of the 1999 draft. He made his first Ichi-gun appearance in his third year in 2002. He became Hiroshima’s clean-up hitter in 2008 and recorded twenty-three home runs, 103 RBI, and a slash line of .332/.389/.515. He made the WBC roster in 2009 as a replacement player for an injured Shuichi Murata.

Kurihara’s career took a downhill slide after right elbow surgery in May 2012. He never fully recovered and played in only twenty-one games in 2012 and twenty-four games in 2013. He thought a change of scenery might be good and asked the Carp for his release after failing to make the active roster two years in a row.

The thirty-four-year-old hit 153 home runs and recorded 586 RBI in 1,026 games. He made the Best Nine in 2011, won three Gold Gloves (2008, 2009, 2011), and picked up three MVP of the Month Awards (July 2006, August 2011, September 2011). He made the All-Star series three times (2007, 2009, 2011).

Source: Daily Sports 9/28/2016, Daily Sports 9/28/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/28/2016, Sponichi 9/28/2016

[UPDATE 9/29 @ 1:27pm]

The Eagles offered Kurihara a job as Ni-gun hitting coach. They are waiting for his decision.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/29/2016

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 2:19am]

The Eagles officially announced on September 29 that Kurihara was retiring. A press conference will be held on October 1.

Source: Rakuten announcement

[UPDATE 10/3 @ 6:09am]

Notes from Kurihara’s press conference:

  • He decided to retire after he failed to make the active roster this year. His hitting problems also factored into the decision.
  • He felt relieved after the decision.
  • Through good times and bad times, he always tried to maintain his focus. He never thought his career would last this long. He is grateful to everyone that supported him over the years.
  • He values all his experiences, from the hard practices he endured when he played for the Carp, to making the WBC roster.
  • He remembers his first hit/home run because it marked the start of his career.
  • He appreciates the opportunity Rakuten gave him and values the things he experienced during his short time in the organization.

Source: Rakuten announcement

[UPDATE 11/23 @ 11:30pm]

The Eagles held a retirement ceremony for Kurihara during Fan Appreciation Day today.

Source: Rakuten 11/23/2016


[9/28/2016] Shinnosuke Ogasawara to work on lower body during the fall

Shinnosuke Ogasawara is not scheduled to participate in the Phoenix League this year. He will instead spend most of the fall running and strengthening his lower body.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/28/2016


[9/27/2016] Seibu Lions: Atsushi Okamoto to retire

The Seibu Lions announced today that thirty-five-year-old Atsushi Okamoto will be retiring. A press conference will be held on September 28.

Source: Seibu announcementSports Hochi 9/27/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/27/2016, Sponichi 9/27/2016


[9/27/2016] Kenta Imamiya to get elbow checked out

Kenta Imamiya did not participate in practices and did not play in tonight’s game against the Chiba Lotte Marines because of pain in his right elbow. He may have suffered the injury during yesterday’s game against Lotte. He told coaches that he had difficulty throwing the ball.

Imamiya returned to Fukuoka and will be examined at a hospital tomorrow.

Source: Sponichi 9/27/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/27/2016

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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