Shingo Kawabata felt pain in his buttocks after practices on February 13. He was given an MRI at a hospital in Naha today and diagnosed with a herniated disc. The Yakult Swallows are planning to re-evaluate his status after seeing how he handles practices on February 16.
[UPDATE 2/17 @ 12:16pm]
Kawabata is currently taking medicine to deal with the pain. There is improvement in his condition. He is not thinking about surgery at this point in time. His workouts on February 16 including walking, light jogging, and playing catch at a distance of about thirty meters.
[UPDATE 2/19 @ 12:03am]
Kawabata will be examined at a hospital in Tokyo on February 20 because he is also experiencing some numbness. He feels he is okay, but the Swallows want more details to make sure he gets the right treatment.
[UPDATE 2/22 @ 12:28am]
Kawabata was examined at a hospital in Tokyo. He does not need surgery. He will continue his training at Ni-gun camp.
Source: Sponichi 2/21/2017
[UPDATE 3/15 @ 1:40am]
Kawabata is currently able to play catch at a distance of about thirty meters. He is also able to take light swings against a pitching machine. He told reporters he could throw at full strength and felt no pain when swinging the bat.
Source: Sanspo 3/14/2017
[UPDATE 3/25 @ 10:04pm]
Kawabata is slated to play in a Ni-gun game at designated hitter on March 28. Mitsuru Manaka told reporters he could still make the opening day roster, but only if he is also capable of playing defense.
Source: Sponichi 3/25/2017
[UPDATE 3/26 @ 10:26pm]
Depending on how things go on March 28, Kawabata might be able to make the active roster some time in early April.
Source: Sponichi 3/26/2017
[UPDATE 3/29 @ 6:53pm]
Kawabata batted second as designated hitter against Ni-gun Lotte on March 28. He went 0-for-3: G1, Ks, F7.
Source: Nikkan Sports 3/29/2017
[UPDATE 4/4 @ 5:53pm]
Kawabata might be ready to make the active roster on April 11.
Source: Sponichi 4/4/2017
[UPDATE 4/12 @ 10:19pm]
The clock on Kawabata’s return was reset after the Swallows determined he needed more time. There is no timetable on his return.
[UPDATE 5/2 @ 10:29pm]
Kawabata has hit a roadblock in his rehab. He started feeling a tingling sensation in his left leg while jogging and will be re-examined at some time this month. Surgery is a possibility. If he goes under the knife, it could take three to six months for a full recovery.
Source: Sanspo 5/2/2017
[UPDATE 5/17 @ 9:44pm]
Kawabata might be able to avoid going under the knife. He was re-examined at a hospital on May 15 and was told his condition was gradually improving.
Source: Sanspo 5/17/2017
[UPDATE 6/20 @ 9:32pm]
Kawabata would like to make it to the active roster before the All-Star break. He no longer feels any tingling in his leg and he is close to running at full speed. He is slated to return to regular Ni-gun workouts this week and might be able to play in a rehab game/scrimmage some time next week.
[UPDATE 7/10 @ 10:11pm]
Kawabata played in a rehab game against Ni-gun Lotte earlier today. He got the start at designated hitter and batted third. He went 0-for-1: with runners on first and third and no out in the first inning, he reached on an error and managed to score all the way from first on a hit to right-center. This was his first game in about three months.
Source: Sanspo 7/10/2017
[UPDATE 7/15 @ 4:55pm]
Kawabata is scheduled to play in another Ni-gun rehab game on July 20 against Rakuten at Toda. He will get the start at designated hitter.
Assuming no major issues, he might be ready to return to the active roster some time before the end of the month.