Count down to Opening Day 2024

Japan’s preseason exhibitions, or “open season,” has now closed, and Nippon Professional Baseball’s two major leagues will open for business Friday. But before we get there, there are a few news items worth sharing: a slight injury, a promotion for one new import and demotion and resignation for another.

In another story that has nothing to do with the season, but everything to do with NPB, MLB has ordered its teams to sever all working agreements with the four foreign pro baseball organizations it currently recognizes.

Wada likely to miss Hawks home opener

Forty-two-year-old lefty Tsuyoshi “Bad ass” Wada, may miss the SoftBank Hawks’ home opener on Tuesday with a bad finger.

In a minor league tune-up start at the Hawks’ minor league park, Tamahome Stadium Chikugo against the Hiroshima Carp, Wada was struck by a ball on his left middle finger.

Pitching coach Shinji Kurano said, “I think part of him wanted to carry on out of a sense of duty, but I told him that if that was the only reason he wanted to start then he should probably not do it.”

Dragons go for a good arm at shortstop

The Chunichi Dragons have offered Cuban shortstop Christian Rodriguez a standard contract in place of the developmental deal they brought him to Japan on.

Rodriguez, who will be 22 on Sunday, impressed observers with his bat in camp, but still got promoted despite going 5-for-34 and striking out 10 times in the preseason, where he probably had the best spring of any player at the position. Rodriguez has a gun. He turned 11 double plays while making one error and showed good range.

Odor has better things to do, quits Giants

Three days before the start of the season, Rougned Odor offered his resignation to the Yomiuri Giants, who signed the longtime MLB infielder to play in the outfield and provide some left-handed pop.

Odor batted 6-for-34 with nine strikeouts in 12 preseason games, and the Giants coaching staff wanted him to start the season on the farm team so he could get in more swings and make adjustments.

According to the team’s head of baseball operations, Sadaaki Yoshimura, Odor had repeatedly said he would not accept a demotion to the farm team, and told manager Shinnosuke Abe on Tuesday that he wanted to be released to pursue playing opportunities in MLB.

I hope he finds what he’s looking for.

The Giants have signed numerous players who came to Japan with a plan to improve, who would swallow their pride and learn what they could, but they have also brought in some of the least engaged players. I don’t want to say Odor was not engaged, but that does happen.

An idiotic response to overseas tampering

On Tuesday, we learned that MLB has ordered its teams to end its working agreements with teams from four foreign pro baseball establishments.

It is an idiotic move I expound upon in “MLB covers up mess with ‘Band-Aid‘”

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