Senga on track for MLB

SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga remained on track to leave Japan’s major leagues for MLB prior to the 2023 season, after signing a five-year contract with the Pacific League club that includes an opt-out that will allow him to file for international free agency next year.

Senga, who has long coveted a move to MLB only to be denied because the Hawks officially “do not recognize the posting system,” won his season debut in April, but hurt his ankle fielding a comebacker. He returned in July when he surrendered 10 runs in 2-2/3 innings.

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Matsuzaka bows out

Retired Japanese pitching icon Daisuke Matsuzaka gave a farewell speech at the Seibu Lions’ fan appreciation day on Saturday at Saitama Prefecture’s MetLife Dome and got more than he bargained for.

And at the very end, baseball had one more highlight for a pitcher whose name became synonymous with a generation of players. After his speech concluded, and Matsuzaka was preparing to leave the field, Lions staff urged him to return to home plate for a surprise, a video message from Ichiro Suzuki.

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writing & research on Japanese baseball

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