Kaneko, Chihiro 金子 千尋 (かねこ・ちひろ)
Orix Buffaloes | #19 | P
Born: 11/07/1983 (age 35)
Height: 180cm
Weight: 77kg
Bats: L
Throws: R
Blood Type: O
Hometown: Niigata
Draft: 2004, Jiyuu
History: 長野商高(甲)-トヨタ自動車
Roster Changes: removed 06/09/2016, added 07/06/2016, removed 07/07/2016, added 07/17/2016

[8/14/2018] Chihiro Kaneko taken off active roster

Chihiro Kaneko was slated to get a start against Seibu on August 15, but was taken off active roster today with some tightness that ran from his neck to his back.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/14/2018, Daily Sports 8/14/2018, Sports Hochi 8/14/2018


[8/24/2017] Chihiro Kaneko leaves start voluntarily

Chihiro Kaneko asked to be removed from last night’s (August 23) game against the Nippon Ham Fighters. He avoided mentioning a specific reason to the media, other than that he felt it was time for him to be replaced. Kaneko also said there should be no problems for his next start.

Source: Daily Sports 8/24/2017, Sponichi 8/24/2017

[UPDATE 8/25 @ 9:31pm]

Kaneko’s problem was apparently some tightness in his right leg. He is not expected to miss his next start.

Source: Sponichi 8/25/2017, Daily Sports 8/25/2017


[5/9/2017] Nihon Seimei MVP of the Month Awards for March/April

Central League


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.

Pacific League


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 5/9/2017


Chihiro Kaneko: Did You Know


Kaneko half-jokingly asked the Orix Buffaloes if they could raise the outfield fences up to about the second floor restaurant during contract negotiations on December 11. Kaneko surrendered a career high twenty-one home runs in 2017.

Source: Sponichi 12/12/2017


Kaneko became the sixth player in franchise history and fifty-third player in NPB history to record 1,500 strikeouts during a game against the Rakuten Eagles at Kyocera Dome on April 10, 2018 (first inning, Carlos Peguero). The milestone strikeout came in 1732.2 innings of work, second fastest for a right-handed pitcher, behind Fumiya Nishiguchi (1729.0 innings of work).

Source: Daily Sports 4/10/2018, Sports Hochi 4/10/2018, Daily Sports 4/10/2018, Sanspo 4/10/2018, Sponichi 4/10/2018


Kaneko does not like to toss bullpen sessions in between starts during the season. He does toss sessions on the day of his starts, but otherwise keeps his throwing to playing catch and long toss.

Source: ZakZak 12/22/2016


[7/18/2016] Chihiro Kaneko leaves start early with lower back tightness

Chihiro Kaneko started a game against the Softbank Hawks at YafuOku Dome today. He started feeling tightness in his lower back while pitching in the fourth inning. He was removed from the game as a precaution after five shutout innings.

Source: Daily Sports 7/18/2016, Sports Hochi 7/18/2016


[7/2/2016] Chihiro Kaneko set to get a start on July 7

Chihiro Kaneko (right shoulder) is scheduled to return to the active roster in time for a start on July 7 against Softbank at Kyocera Dome. After that, he will most likely be taken off the active roster. Junichi Fukura wants to avoid giving Kaneko his next start on only five days of rest and will probably opt to wait until after the All-Star break.

Source: Sponichi 7/2/2016


[6/30/2016] Chihiro Kaneko tosses five shutout innings in rehab start

Chihiro Kaneko (right shoulder) started a Ni-gun rehab game against Chunichi on June 30. He tossed five shutout innings, allowed two hits, threw sixty-one pitches, and topped out at 145km/h. He could return to the active roster in time for a three-game Softbank series that begins on July 5.

Source: Sports Hochi 6/30/2016, Sponichi 6/30/2016


[6/27/2016] Chihiro Kaneko tosses a bullpen session

Chihiro Kaneko (right shoulder) tossed a bullpen session at Kyocera Dome on June 26 and threw seventy-eight pitches, including off-speed pitches. It was his second session since he was taken off the active roster.

Kaneko will pitch in one rehab game at Ni-gun on June 30. Assuming everything is okay, he could return to the active roster in time for a three-game series against Softbank that begins on July 5.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/27/2016, Sponichi 6/27/2016


[6/22/2016] Chihiro Kaneko tosses bullpen session

Chihiro Kaneko (right shoulder) tossed a bullpen session at Hotto Motto Kobe earlier today. He threw fifty pitches including off-speed pitches. This was his first real session since he was taken off the active roster on June 10. He also did some long distance throwing and running.

Source: Sports Hochi 6/22/2016

[UPDATE 6/23 @ 10:09pm]

Kaneko will toss another bullpen session in front of Ichi-gun coaches on June 26. He asked for a chance to pitch in a rehab game at Ni-gun and could get a start during a three-game series against Chunichi that begins on June 28. Assuming no setbacks, he could make his return to the active roster in time for a Softbank three-games series that begins on July 5.

Source: Daily Sports 6/23/2016


[6/21/2016] Chihiro Kaneko could pitch in a Ni-gun rehab game

Junichi Fukura told the media on June 20 that he does not expect Chihiro Kaneko (right shoulder) to return to the active roster this month. There was talk about him getting a start during a two-game Rakuten series in Okinawa that begins on June 28, but Fukura said he would toss at least two more bullpen sessions (June 22 and 26) before they made any other decisions about his schedule. He also hinted at the possibility of Kaneko getting a rehab start at Ni-gun.

Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2016, Sponichi 6/21/2016