Giants to keep lid on admissions
Yomiuri Giants owner Toshikazu Yamaguchi said the Central League club will not expand admissions limits in August beyond the current 5,000 the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.
The government had given event promoters the OK to admit up to around half a venue’s capacity from Aug. 1, but on Saturday, the government’s Minister for Economic Revitalization, Yasutoshi Nishimura asked promoters to reconsider in light of recent increases in confirmed COVID-19 infections.
“At this time, infections are increasing and Tokyo is at the center of that,” Yamaguchi said. “In line with government guidance we had aimed to bring in 19,000 more or less, but I can’t imagine doing that soon.”
The same day, Yamaguchi announced a 10 billion yen ($9 million) investment to make Tokyo Dome safer in a world with coronavirus, with the first improvements, more washbasins and women’s toilets to be ready for the park to host fans for the first time this year on July 28.
Hawks’ Cuban sluggers arrive in Fukuoka
The Pacific League’s SoftBank Hawks announced Monday that their two Cuban outfielders, Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial, have arrived in Fukuoka and have tested negative for the coronavirus.
The pair had been in Cuba this spring to prepare for their nation’s World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and were stranded there after the qualifiers were canceled and exit and entry restrictions imposed.
Eagles’ drop Kishi, Dragons drop Hirata
Following his third poor start of the season, the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles deactivated veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi on Monday, while the Central League’s Chunichi Dragons have also dropped one of their stars, outfielder Ryosuke Hirata, due to his poor performance.
The 35-year-old Kishi is 1-0 but has allowed 10 runs over 12-1/3 innings. Sports Bull quoted Eagles pitching coach Tomohito Ito as saying, “He really isn’t getting results, so one would think there is a physical issue. He’s a player we absolutely need. Having said that, we’ve only just started, so we want him to diligently get back to where he needs to be and rejoin the team.”
The 32-year-old Hirata, one of the Dragons’ most reliable hitters and consistently one of the CL’s best outfield defenders, was deactivated in the hope that he can regain his batting form with the farm team after starting the season with a .164 batting average in 73 plate appearances.
Rakuten vows to eject cheating fans
On Sunday, the Rakuten Eagles responded to complaints from Seibu Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji that a fan seated behind home plate was shouting where his catcher, Tomoya Mori, was setting up during the home team’s at-bats on Saturday.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Lions at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, announcements were made and extra security was posted in the stands, Jiji Press reported.
Hiroshi Abei, the Eagles’ director of baseball operations, said, “In order to prevent similar acts from occurring…fans acting in that manner will be removed from the ballpark.”
A similar issue occurred just after Opening Day when games were being played behind closed doors, and players on the field at Jingu Stadium could hear broadcasters talking about where the catchers were setting up.
Even though up to 5,000 fans are being admitted to games, they have been prohibited from speaking loudly, chanting or cheering, so that individuals who do speak up can clearly be heard.
Active roster moves 7/20/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/30