NPB news: April 29, 2022

On Friday, the first day of Japan’s long Golden Week spring holiday, we had a pitcher throwing in triple digits, some extremely cool TV, a solid Japan debut, a Roki Sasaki update and a negative as another player tests positive for COVID.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Sasaki to pitch against SoftBank

Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said Friday that Roki Sasaki, the youngest pitcher to throw a perfect game in Japanese pro baseball, will likely make his next start next week against the SoftBank Hawks at Chiba Marine Stadium, Kyodo News reported.

Buffaloes’ sick list grows

The Orix Buffaloes announced that center fielder and leadoff hitter Shuhei Fukuda had tested positive for COVID-19, making a total of five players and one team staff member currently out with the virus, including 2021 home run champ Yutaro Sugimoto.

Friday’s games

We had three rainouts on Friday as we go through a kind of spring rainy season, as if the one in June isn’t miserable enough.

Tigers 3, Giants 2: At Tokyo Dome, Koyo Aoyagi (3-0) went the distance on 129 pitches, allowing one earned run, while reaching base twice and scoring a run as Hanshin has now achieved half its season total of eight wins in the past week with a four-game win streak.

Teruaki Sato hit his seventh home run in the third inning with Aoyagi on base after his leadoff single. The homer came off Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano (3-3), who felt discomfort in his right elbow, was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the third and will be deactivated, Daily Sports reported.

Triple-digits throwing

We then got to see a triple-digit uniform in a major league game, when Taiki Kikuchi was signed from Yomiuri’s developmental roster to a standard contract and activated the same day before the Giants had a two-digit uniform ready for him. The Tigers avoided this problem a few years ago, when they promoted Fumihito Haraguchi on a day when they were using alternate uniforms and Haraguchi borrowed a shirt from a coach.

Taken in the sixth round of last year’s developmental draft and the 115th overall, Kikuchi had been blowing through the Eastern League, striking out 26 of the 64 batters he faced while walking five. In his major league debut, the right-hander struck out two of the six batters he faced and allowed a hit.

The Giants scored an unearned run in the fifth and came within a hair of tying it on a two-out drive to the center-field wall with a runner on first, but were denied on a good catch by Koji Chikamoto.

Yusuke Oyama hit his fourth home run, in the eighth, and Kazuma Okamoto his Japan-best 10th to lead off the ninth before Aoyagi closed it out.

Giants-Tigers highlights

 Carp 1, Dragons 0: At Nagoya Dome, Daichi Osera (4-1) went the distance for Hiroshima, the second time in a week the Dragons have been shutout on two hits and no walks.

With a walk and a hit, Osera matched the Dragons’ on-base total, while Shota Dobayashi’s second homer off Hiroto Takahashi (2-2) provided the margin of victory.

Buffaloes 1, Lions 0: At Osaka Dome, new Buffaloes import Jacob Waguespack gave the hosts five scoreless innings in his Japan debut as five Orix pitchers outlasted the Lions, who got eight innings from Opening Day starter Kona Takahashi.

“I already knew he had good stuff, but he showed me even more today,” Nakajima said of Waguespack.

Jesse Biddle issued three straight two-out walks before getting out of the jam and Yoshihisa Hirano (0-1) worked around Sosuke Genda’s one-out ninth-inning double to get the win.

Masahiro Nishino drew a leadoff walk. After a passed ball and a groundout, the Lions opted to walk red-hot two-time defending PL batting champion Masataka Yoshida. Taira got a little fly from Mune but it fell in for an RBI single.

In his hero interview, Mune alluded to the team’s health issues.

“I just got over the coronavirus so I’m trying not to catch cold,” he said. “I haven’t been hitting well, so I was just looking to time a fastball, but I really got jammed, but I guess I was able to will that ball to drop.”

“It was 100 percent will power.”

Saturday’s starting pitchers

Saturday is going to see a matchup between Matt Shoemaker, who really had his groove on after three straight quality starts and a two-hit no-walk shutout last week, and Hanshin’s Aaron Wilkerson, who has pitched well in his two starts. Going to be fun.

Eagles vs Hawks: Miyagi Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (2-1, 0.86) vs Kodai Senga (3-0, 0.95)

Marines vs Fighters: Chiba Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ayumu Ishikawa (2-1, 1.05) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-3, 4.18)

Buffaloes vs Lions: Osaka Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-3, 3.62) vs Chihiro Sumida (1-3, 2.89)

Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Matt Shoemaker (1-1, 0.83) vs Aaron Wilkerson (1-1, 1.46)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Cy Sneed (1-0, 5.87) vs Taiga Kamichatani (2-1, 2.31)

Dragons vs Carp: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Matsuba (0-1, 0.87) vs Masato Morishita (3-1, 3.55)

Active roster moves 4/29/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/9

Central League


GiantsP96Taiki Kikuchi
GiantsIF32Taishi Hirooka
DragonsIF3Shuhei Takahashi


GiantsP19Iori Yamasaki
GiantsC67Shinnosuke Yamase
DragonsOF8Yohei Oshima
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami
BayStarsP53Sota Ikeya

Pacific League


BuffaloesP58Jacob Waguespack
BuffaloesIF10Koji Oshiro
LionsP34Yasuo Sano


BuffaloesP26Atsushi Nomi
BuffaloesOF1Shuhei Fukuda
EaglesP47Masaru Fujii
EaglesP52Taisei Tsurusaki
LionsP54Burch Smith

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