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
The Hanshin Tigers might be getting ready to offer Randy Messenger a two-year extension.
Messenger is currently thirty-five. Age might be a concern, but he has managed to pitch at least 185 innings in each of his last five seasons. He is also slated to earn his domestic free agent option next year, which means he will lose his foreign player status in 2018 (second year of the contract). All things considered, not a bad risk to take.0 Comments
Randy Messenger collected three hits on Thursday night against the Yokohama Bay Stars at Yokohama Stadium. It was the first modasho of his NPB career. Messenger is the first Hanshin pitcher to record a modasho since Shinobu Fukuhara on August 19, 2006 and the first foreign Hanshin pitcher since Trey Moore on August 14, 2002.0 Comments
The Hanshin Tigers are planning to offer Randy Messenger a contract for the 2017 season. Age might be a concern, but beyond that is the uncertainty of being able to find as good a replacement, not just in terms of numbers, but also presence.
Messenger finished a two-year deal last season and agreed to a one-year extension during the winter. If he returns to the Tigers next year, he will be the first foreign player to spend more than seven years in the organization. He is currently tied with Gene Bacque (1962-1968) and Jeff Williams (2003-2009).0 Comments
Randy Messenger recorded a win against the Chunichi Dragons on August 12 for his tenth win of the year and fifth double-digit win season (2011-2014, 2016). Messenger and Gene Bacque are the only two foreign pitchers in franchise history to win ten or more games in five seasons (Bacque accomplished the feat in five consecutive seasons between 1964 and 1968). Only one other foreign pitcher in NPB history has more double-digit win seasons: Tai-Yuan Kuo with six (1987-1989, 1991, 1992, 1994).0 Comments
In fifteen games at Jingu Stadium, Randy Messenger is 4-6 with an ERA of 5.57.
Career Numbers at Jingu Stadium