Summer break

We’ve now had a full week in Japan without real pro baseball. There were a pair of all-star games, that the leagues split last the weekend, and starting Saturday, more exhibitions start.

Samurai Japan, now training in Sendai, will play the hometown Rakuten Eagles on Saturday, and the Yomiuri Giants there on Sunday. The Hiroshima Carp were scheduled to host Mexico at Mazda Stadium on Saturday and Sunday but those two games have been called off.

From Tuesday, July 27, to Tuesday, Aug. 10, the 12 NPB teams will play exhibitions against teams from the other league before the regular season resumes on Friday, Aug. 13.

During that time, I’ll be keeping up with whatever news there actually is, including anything interesting from the Olympic baseball tournament, but the day job is going to be fairly demanding so there are no promises.

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New guys for Buffaloes, Hawks

Within the past week, two new imports joined Pacific League clubs. former Royals pitcher Glenn Sparkman, was signed by the Orix Buffaloes on June 25, but only recently arrived in Japan.

Meanwhile, the SoftBank Hawks introduced former Orioles outfielder Dariel Alvarez in their desire to sign as many 30-something Cubans as possible.

In 2019, Sparkman threw 136 innings for the Royals, striking out 81 batters while walking 41 and surrendering 30 home runs. He’ll likely find it a lot harder to strike out hitters that often.

Alvarez slashed .288/.324/.384 for Baltimore’s Triple-A club in 2016, and this year played in 24 games for Ibaraki in the independent B.C. League in which he hit .295 with six home runs, which in itself is no recomendation, so I assume the Hawks’ guys saw something else, perhaps his arm. At least one report said he took the mound for the Astro Planets, but it didn’t appear to have been in a league game.

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