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Kurihara, Kenta 栗原 健太 (くりはら・けんた)
Born: 01/07/1982 (age 37)
Height: 183cm
Weight: 97kg
Bats: R
Throws: R
Blood Type: O
Hometown: Yamagata
Draft: 1999, 3rd Round
History: 日大山形高(甲)-広島

[12/20/2016] Updates on Ryoji Katsuki, Kenta Kurihara, Katsuhiko Saka, Toshiyuki Yanuki, Atsushi Okamoto

When Ryoji Katsuki’s father passed away on November 20, 2006, he thought about quitting baseball because he was worried about his mother and because he ruptured a ligament in his right elbow. His manager at the time pushed him to keep playing. He had surgery on his elbow and his team, the Golden Larks, made it to the Inter-city Tournament in 2007 and 2008. He later became the first player in Golden Larks’ history to make it to the NPB (2008 draft, sixth round). He was senryokugaied by Lotte on October 1, 2016. He gave himself about a week after the draft on October 20 to find a new team. He received no offers and returned to his former manager on October 29. He was again persuaded to keep playing and agreed to return to the Golden Larks as a player/coach.

Source: Sponichi 12/16/2016

Kenta Kurihara developed chronic pain in his right elbow. He had surgery three times (2008, 2012, 2014) with hopes that his condition would improve. But the pain never fully went away and he was unable to regain the powerful swing he once had. One of the reasons why he retired this year was because he was unable to make the active roster — he had not played in an Ich-gun game since 2013.

Source: Sponichi 12/18/2016

Katsuhiko Saka considered retirement when he was senryokugaied by the Hanshin Tigers, but still felt he was healthy enough to play. He took part in the twelve team tryouts last month and went 2-for-5. He started off with the strong desire to return to the NPB, but without any offers, he expanded his options. He is currently planning to sign with the 06 Bulls as a player/coach.

Source: Sponichi 12/19/2016

Toshiyuki Yanuki is set to join the Yomiuri Giants’ staff, effective January 1, 2017.

Source: Sponichi 12/20/2016

Atsushi Okamoto decided to retire this year because he felt he reached the end of the line. Okamoto was never quite the same after he suffered a stress fracture in his hip in 2010. He also continued to feel pain after he had surgery on his right elbow last year. He slowly started losing stream and made the decision to retire in September this year.

Source: Sponichi 12/20/2016

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[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:

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

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[6/11/2016] Kenta Kurihara strikes out three times in Ni-gun game

Kenta Kurihara played in a Ni-gun game against Yakult at Tendo earlier today. He was the starting designated hitter and batted sixth. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Source: Sports Hochi 6/11/2016

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[5/18/2016] Japhet Amador goes 0-for-2 in rehab game

Japhet Amador (left wrist) played in a rehab game at Ni-gun today against Seibu at kobo Stadium. He was the starting designated hitter and batted fifth. He went 0-for-2 in two trips to the plate: F4, K. Amador was replaced by pinch-hitter Kenta Kurihara in the seventh inning.

Source: Sports Hochi 5/18/2016, Nikkan Sports 5/18/2016

Other players that also made appearances in the game:

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[5/13/2016] Kenta Kurihara plays in first game in about two months

Kenta Kurihara suffered a strain in his right calf before opening day. He played in his first game in about two months on May 12.

Kurihara was the starting designated hitter and batted fifth against Ni-gun Yokohama. In two trips to the plate, he flied out to short and lined out to short. He told reporters he was able to put a good swing on the ball when he lined out to short in his second at bat and that he was able to make adjustments during the at bat that helped him regain his timing (he was late on the first two pitches).

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/13/2016

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