The media learned that Rakuten Eagles’ Vice Chairman Senichi Hoshino passed away on January 4. He was seventy years old.
Hoshino apparently fell sick toward the end of last year and canceled plans to spend time with family in Hawaii at the last minute. He did attend Hall of Fame celebrations in Tokyo on November 28, 2017 and in Osaka on December 1 last year.
As a pitcher with the Chunichi Dragons, Hoshino went 146-121 with a 3.60 ERA over 2128.2 innings spanning 500 games between 1969 and 1982. As a manager, he led the Dragons to two first place finishes, the Hanshin Tigers to one first place finish, and the Rakuten Eagles to one first place finish that culminated in his first and only Nippon Series Championship. He was voted into the Hall of Fame last year.
Source: Sponichi 1/6/2018
[UPDATE 1/7 @ 5:19am]
Source: Sanspo 1/7/2018
[UPDATE 1/10 @ 1:51am]
The Hanshin Tigers and Chunichi Dragons scheduled memorial games for Hoshino.
The Hanshin Tigers are interested in thirty-one-year-old Byung-Ho Park (KBO LG, KBO Nexen, MLB Minnesota) as an option for the 2019 season. Thirty-year-old Jung-Ho Kang (KBO Hyundai, KBO Nexen, MLB Pittsburgh) and twenty-nine-year-old Hyun-Soo Kim (KBO Doosan, MLB Baltimore, MLB Philadelphia, KBO LG) are other possibilities. This is in addition to twenty-four-year-old Po-Jung Wang (CPBL Lamigo).
It should be noted that a number of other NPB teams are also interested in Wang, like the Chunichi Dragons, Orix Buffaloes, Yomiuri Giants, and Softbank Hawks.
The Tigers are also keeping an eye on thirty-five-year-old Seung-Hwan Oh (KBO Samsung, NPB Hanshin, MLB St. Louis). They currently have no openings in the bullpen, but that could change if someone gets hurt or struggles. There are also rumors that Oh might be interested in a return to the NPB.
Source: Sports Hochi 12/30/2017, Daily Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Sponichi 12/30/2017, Sanspo 12/30/2017, Sanspo 12/30/20170 Comments
Rosario wanted to make a good impression and was eight minutes late to his introductory press conference on January 28, 2018 because he wanted to wear a suit. He wore a grey suit with a light-blue tie.
Source: Daily Sports 1/28/2018
Rosario asked the Hanshin Tigers to prepare a catcher’s mitt for him during contract negotiations in December 2017. The Tigers are planning to use Rosario at first, but having the option to use him at catcher would give them more roster flexibility. Rosario seems fully prepared to play where ever the team needs him. Source: Daily Sports 12/30/20170 Comments
Ginoza Stadium and Dome in Okinawa are the spring camp home of the Hanshin Tigers. Kariyusha Company purchased the naming rights to both facilities for 5.5 million yen a year over a period of four years and three months beginning on January 1, 2018. The names will be Kariyusha Hotels Ballpark Ginoza and Kariyusha Hotels Ballpark Ginoza Dome.
Source: Nikkan Sports 12/29/20170 Comments
Sakamoto is planning to try new ASICS chest protector that does a better job at absorbing impact during spring camp in 2018. The less “bouncy” chest protector could help him with balls in the dirt.0 Comments
The Hanshin Tigers have made a couple of modifications to the infield at Koshien Stadium, once in January 2016 and again in June 2017. In both cases, the infield dirt area was expanded, about one meter in 2016 and around two meters this year, to improve fielding conditions.
The Tigers wanted similar changes made to the stadium they use during spring camp and approached Ginoza Stadium officials. Their request was accepted and construction began in October and ended in November. The modification cost about five million yen.
Source: Sanspo 12/26/20170 Comments
The Hanshin Tigers would like Randy Messenger to return to their team beyond the 2018 season. He is set to earn his free agent option next year (he needs eighteen more days on the active roster) and will lose his foreign player status beginning in 2019. The last thing the Tigers want is for Messenger to leave their organization for another team in the NPB. They will most likely attempt to keep him in a Hanshin uniform by approaching him early and letting him know they want him to stay.0 Comments
Morikoshi is planning to take four to five different gloves to spring camp in 2018. He is willing to becoming a utility player if it means he can get more playing time.
Source: Nikkan Sports 12/20/20170 Comments
Fujitani (21) filed marriage papers with a twenty-year-old woman living in Osaka on September 18, 2017.
Source: Nikkan Sports 12/20/20170 Comments
Ono is planning to use a black and navy blue glove in 2018. He started the 2017 season with a red glove. He apparently decided to ditch the red glove after he was told the color made it easier to pick up on patterns (tipping pitches).
Source: Sanspo 12/20/20170 Comments