Smoak leaves for family’s sake
Yomiuri Giants first baseman Justin Smoak became the latest player to forfeit a job in Japan because his family has been unable to join him. The Central League club announced Thursday that he is returning to the States 34 games into his two-year contract.
Orix Buffaloes pitcher Brandon Dickson declined to come to Japan for his ninth season when he learned his family could not join him, while Rakuten Eagles pitcher Adam Conley declined to come at all.
Getting players into Japan has been marred by the lack of a consistent policy throughout NPB which has mirrored Japan’s haphazard response to the pandemic. NPB and pro soccer’s J-League petitioned the government to let players and coaches into the country.
And the government gave them an entry exemption for non-resident emergency workers based on the excuse that athletes and coaches were essential to make Japan’s Olympic baseball and soccer teams stronger. This is close to nonsensical, but it reflects the fact that waving the magic Olympic wand can move mountains.
Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Hideaki Wakui (6-4, 3.94) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6-5, 2.08)
Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Kona Takahashi (5-2, 3.87) vs Daiki Iwashita (4-4, 3.72)
Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Shuta Ishikawa (3-5, 2.93) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-2, 3.00)
Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT
Masanori Ishikawa (2-1, 1.69) vs Yuya Yanagi (5-2, 1.89)
BayStars vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Haruhiro Hamaguchi (4-4, 2.63) vs Shogo Tamamura (0-3, 3.86)
Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Yuki Nishi (3-3, 3.18) vs Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (2-0, 0.71)
Active roster moves 6/17/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/27