Randy Messenger, Hanshin (Third Time)
5 G, 4-1, 29.2 IP, 1.82 ERA, 28 SO, 6 ER
Messenger picked up his third MVP of the Month award, first since March/April of last year. He led the league with four wins. He became the first foreign pitcher to get the opening day start four years in a row. He is the first foreign Hanshin player to win three MVP of the Month awards. The previous record of two was held by Randy Bass (April 1985, June 1986) and Jason Standridge (June 2011, July 2011).
Hayato Sakamoto, Yomiuri (First Time)
25 G, .369 AVG, 38 H, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB
Sakamoto notched the first MVP of the Month award of his career. He led the league in batting average (.369) and hits (38). He went 4-for-4 against Yakult at Tokyo Dome on April 30, notched eleven multi-hit games, and recorded twenty RBI (good for a third place tie) in March/April. He is the first Yomiuri hitter to win an MVP of the Month award since Shuichi Murata in August 2013. He is the first shortstop in franchise history to win an MVP of the Month award.
Shinsaburo Tawata, Seibu (First Time)
5 G, 5-0, 35.0 IP, 2.06 ERA, 1 CG, 22 SO, 8 ER
Tawata pitched in five games and recorded five victories. His 2.06 ERA was good for a third place tie. He tossed six shutout innings against Nippon Ham on March 31, allowed one run over seven innings against Orix on April 7, gave up one run in a complete game victory against Rakuten on April 14, three runs in six innings against Lotte on April 21, and two runs over seven innings against Rakuten on April 29.
Hotaka Yamakawa, Seibu (Third Time)
24 G, .337 AVG, 28 H, 11 HR, 33 RBI
Yamakawa started in all twenty-four of his team’s games in March/April. he led the league in home runs (11), RBI (33), total bases (69), slugging percentage (.831), batting average with runners in scoring position (.560), and walks (22). He recorded at least one RBI in four games and homered in three consecutive games between April 21 and 25 (including a grand slam and three-run home run on April 25). He also hit home runs in two consecutive games on April 28 and 29.
Source: NPB 5/9/20180 Comments
Thirty-six-year-old Randy Messenger earned his domestic free agent option today with eight years of service time on the active roster. Messenger told reporters he was not interested in playing for another team and that he wanted to finish his career with the Hanshin Tigers.
Messenger is the ninth foreign player to earn a free agent option. He will not count against the foreign player cap next year.0 Comments
The NPB announced today that they issued Randy Messenger a 100,000 yen fine and a stern warning for his ejection from last night’s game against the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.
With the bases loaded and two out in the second inning, Messenger went to a full count against Ryuhei Matsuyama. He threw a fastball up and in. The umpire ruled the pitch a ball and the walk pushed a run home to put the Tigers down 3-1.
A frustrated Messenger shouted toward home plate as he came off the mound. The umpire ejected him for using offensive language. The veteran hurler has only been ejected one other time: September 8, 2010 for a dangerous pitch (automatic ejection). The last Tiger to be ejected for using offensive language was Matt Murton on August 23, 2014.0 Comments
Randy Messenger is slated to earn his domestic free agent option on April 16 (assuming he remains on the active roster until then). According to reports by Daily Sports and Sanspo, the Hanshin Tigers are planning to ask him to stay as soon as he earns the option. Messenger has also expressed an interest to remain with the team.
While it is still early, there is a good chance the Tigers will offer a multi-year deal with at least two years. If Messenger becomes a free agent, he will be an interesting option for other NPB teams because he will no longer be considered a foreign player.
[UPDATE 4/14 @ 1:49am]
According to a report by Tokyo Sports, Messenger is willing to play for as long as the Tigers want him (if they want him for two years, he will play another two years). He is also not interested in playing for any other team in Japan.
Source: Tokyo Sports 4/13/20180 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
Tomoaki Kanemoto told reporters on November 23 that he is planning to give thirty-six-year-old Randy Messenger the opening day start next season. For Messenger, it will be his fifth opening day start and fourth in as many years. He will become the first foreign pitcher in NPB history to record four consecutive opening day starts. The current record of three is held by Joe Stanka (1961-1963) and Messenger.
Opening Dat Starts
|2013/03/29||vs Yakult||Jingu Stadium||W||6.0||25||5||2||1||6||3|
|2015/03/27||vs Chunichi||Kyocera Dome||6.0||25||6||0||1||4||3|
|2016/03/25||vs Chunichi||Kyocera Dome||L||6.0||38||10||6||0||5||3|
|2017/03/31||vs Hiroshima||Mazda Stadium||W||5.0+||26||7||3||0||8||2|
Added additional comments about consecutive opening day starts on 11/24 at 3:42pm0 Comments
Randy Messenger left tonight’s game against the Yomiuri Giants after a batted ball hit him near the right ankle. Shinnosuke Abe led off the seventh inning with a liner that hit Messenger in the right foot. Messenger was removed from the game and later taken to a hospital in Tokyo for tests.
[UPDATE 8/11 @ 8:58pm]
The Tigers announced earlier today that Messenger was diagnosed with a left fibula fracture. He was taken off the active roster on the same day. There is a chance he could end up missing the rest of the season.
[UPDATE 8/16 @ 10:22pm]
The Tigers announced that today that Messenger temporarily returned to the United States for a second opinion and treatment on his fractured fibula. There is no timetable for his return at this point in time, though he is expected to use the Naruohama facilities for rehab.
[UPDATE 8/26 @ 10:45am]
The media learned on August 25 that Messenger had surgery to treat his fractured fibula. He is expected to return to Japan soon to begin a rehab program. If he has a smooth and fast recovery, he might be able to pitch in the post-season (should the team make it that far).
Source: Nikkan Sports 8/26/2017
[UPDATE 8/27 @ 9:19pm]
Messenger returned to Japan on August 27. He is slated to begin a rehab program at the Naruohama facilities on August 29.
[UPDATE 8/29 @ 5:32pm]
Messenger started his rehab today at the Naruohama training facilities. He appeared on the field after 11:00pm and spent about ten minutes playing a light game of catch. He threw the ball fifty-four times and maxed out the distance at about thirty-five meters. He left the facilities after 1:00pm.
Before leaving, he spoke to reporters and said he decided to go under the knife after he was told it would take about three months for his leg to heal without surgery. Assuming no setbacks, he thinks he might be able to pitch in about two games before the end of the regular season.
[UPDATE 8/31 @ 2:33pm]
Messenger played catch at a distance of about fifty meters on August 31.
Source: Sanspo 9/1/2017
[UPDATE 9/11 @ 12:38am]
Messenger worked out at the Naruohama facilities on September 9 for the first time without a cast on his leg.
Source: Sanspo 9/10/2017
[UPDATE 9/12 @ 3:35pm]
Messenger could sit down with coaches on September 13 to discuss his progress. He has already started playing catch with cleats. The Tigers are beginning to consider the very real possibility that he might be ready to pitch before the end of the regular season.
[UPDATE 9/17 @ 10:39pm]
Messenger played catch for about ten minutes on September 16. He is currently waiting for the okay to place more weight on his right (back) leg. He is scheduled for an examination on September 20.
The two Chunichi games this weekend were rained out. Due to scheduling issues, the make-up games will be scheduled on or after October 5. The extended schedule could work to Messenger’s advantage: it will most likely give him at least one chance to pitch at the Ichi-gun level before the start of the post-season.
[UPDATE 9/20 @ 9:56pm]
Messenger was able to play catch at a distance of about forty meters on September 19. He will be re-examined at a hospital soon. He should be able to start throwing in the bullpen if there are no issues.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/20/2017
[UPDATE 9/21 @ 4:49pm]
Messenger is scheduled to toss a bullpen session today. He apparently received the green light after a check-up at the hospital on September 20.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/21/2017
[UPDATE 9/21 @ 5:14pm]
Messenger did some running, stretching, and playing catch before tossing a bullpen session today. He threw ten pitches to a standing catcher, then forty-four to a squatting catcher.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/21/2017
[UPDATE 9/23 @ 2:01am]
Messenger might be ready to pitch in an Ichi-gun game on either October 5 or 6. The season was extended to October 6 due to two rain outs earlier this month.
Messenger mixed in curveballs, forkballs, and sliders during his bullpen session on September 21.
[UPDATE 9/24 @ 3:52pm]
Messenger threw forty pitches in bullpen session on September 23. He is expected to toss one more session before he moves on to the next step.
Assuming no setbacks, he could pitch in a Ni-gun game against Hiroshima at Koshien on September 27.
[UPDATE 9/25 @ 10:52pm]
Messenger tossed a bullpen session in front of Tomoaki Kanemoto at Koshien Stadium on September 25. Kanemoto was impressed and told reporters he thought Messenger’s pitches were at about ninety percent.
Messenger might be ready to pitch in a Ni-gun rehab game against Hiroshima on September.
[UPDATE 9/27 @ 3:32pm]
Messenger started a Ni-gun game against Hiroshima earlier today. He tossed two shutout innings, threw thirty-seven pitches, allowed one hit, and topped out at 149km/h.
He gave up lead-off single in the first and two walks, but did not allow a run to score. He tired the side in order in the second inning.
[UPDATE 10/1 @ 2:14am]
Messenger is slated to start a practice game against Minoshima Baseball Club on October 1 at Naruohama. He is scheduled to pitch three to four innings.
Source: Sanspo 9/30/2017
[UPDATE 10/1 @ 11:31pm]
Messenger started a Ni-gun practice game against Minoshima Baseball Club today. He pitched five shutout innings, threw sixty-two pitches, allowed two hits, struck out four, and topped out at 151km/h.
Added additional performance information on 10/2 @ 5:35pm.
[UPDATE 10/3 @ 10:40pm]
Messenger joined the Ichi-gun team for workouts today. He could make an appearance against Chunichi at Koshien on October 6. If everything goes well, he could get a start during the First Stage of the Climax Series.0 Comments
Randy Messenger, Hanshin (Second Time)
5 G, 4-0, 32.1 IP, 1.95 ERA, 37 SO, 7 ER
Messenger picked up his second MVP of the Month Award of his career. He led the league in wins (four) and strikeouts (thirty-seven). He recorded two victories against the Hiroshima Carp and helped keep his team within striking distance of first place. Yomiuri’s Tomoyuki Sugano was also under consideration, but Messenger got the nod because of his four wins and rock-steady performances. He is the first Hanshin player to win the award since Yuta Iwasada in September 2016. He joins Randy Bass (April 1985, June 1986) and Jason Standridge (June 2011, July 2011) as the only foreign pitchers in franchise history to win the award twice (he also won the award in July 2013).
Yohei Oshima, Chunichi (First Time)
26 G, .372 AVG, 42 H, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 SB
Oshima got the nod for MVP of the Month for the first time in his career. He played in every game in March/April and led the league in hitting (.372) and hits (forty-two). He recorded forty-one hits in April and became the first player to collect at least forty hits in a month since Soichiro Tateoka connected for forty in August 2015. He also recorded four hits in one game four times. On April 30, he became the 286th player in NPB history to reach the 1,000 hit milestone. Oshima is the first Dragon to win the award since Dayan Viciedo in March/April 2016.
Chihiro Kaneko, Orix (Seventh Time)
5 G, 4-0, 37.0 IP, 1.70 ERA, 2 CG, 1 ShO, 23 SO, 7 ER
Kaneko pitched in five games during March/April and recorded a league-leading two complete games. His four wins and thirty-seven innings were tied for most in the league and his 1.70 ERA was second best. He got off to a slow start by giving up four runs over five innings to Rakuten on opening day, but limited Nippon Ham to two runs over six innings on April 7 and recorded his first win of the season. He tossed a two-hit shutout against Softbank on April 14 and picked up his third win of the season by keeping Nippon Ham to one run over eight innings. He tossed his second complete game of the year on April 26 against Seibu for his fourth win. This is the seventh time he won the award, first since September 2014.
Takahiro Okada, Orix (Second Time)
23 G, .351 AVG, 27 H, 7 HR, 15 RBI
Okada played in all twenty-three games in March/April. He led the league in slugging (.675) and was tied for first in home runs (seven) and total bases (fifty-two). His on base percentage (.485) was good for second, runs scored (eighteen) good for third, and batting average (.351) good for fifth. He safely reached base in seventeen consecutive games, between April 8 and 30, and failed to reach base in only two games. He recorded three hits and three RBI in each game on April 20 against Nippon Ham and April 25 against Seibu. This is the second time he won the award, first since July 2010.
Orix players have now won the award seventy-one times, most in league history. Seibu and Nippon Ham each have seventy. Orix pitchers and hitters have now won the award during the same month ten times, also most in league history.
Source: NPB 5/9/20170 Comments
April 21, 2017 vs Yomiuri at Tokyo Dome – Messenger recorded his twentieth double-digit strikeout game. He became the first foreign pitcher to accomplish the feat and the fifth player in Hanshin franchise history (behind Yutaka Enatsu’s 69, Minoru Murayama’s 32, Masaaki Koyama’s 27, and Kei Igawa’s 24).
Double-digit strikeout totals, beginning with his first year in 2010:
Source: Nikkan Sports 4/22/2017
August 4, 2017 vs Yakult at Kyocera Dome – Messenger notched his tenth shutout and became the fifth foreign pitcher in NPB history to record at least ten shutouts during their NPB career. The other four: Tai-Yuan Kuo with twenty-four, Gene Bacque with twenty-two, Joe Stanka with eighteen, and Genji Kaku with seventeen.
Source: Nikkan Sports 8/5/2017
October 10, 2017 vs Chunichi at Koshien Stadium – Messenger struck out seven in a row between the second and fourth innings and tied a Hanshin Tigers’ franchise record held by five other pitchers: Masaaki Koyama (1956), Minoru Murayama (1960), Atsushi Nomi (2011), and Shintaro Fujinami (2014).
The NPB record of nine was set by Takao Kajimoto in 1957 and Masayuki Dobashi in 1958.
Source: Sponichi 10/10/2017
The Hanshin Tigers announced on November 29 that they signed Randy Messenger (35) and Marcos Mateo (32) to new contracts for the 2017 season. According to the media, Messenger agreed to a two-year contract with an estimated annual salary of 350 million yen. Mateo signed a one-year contract worth an estimated 110 million yen.
Messenger will become the first foreign player to spend eight years with the Hanshin Tigers next year. The previous record of seven years was held by Gene Bacque (1962-1968) and Jeff Williams (2003-2009).0 Comments