Hawks activate Stewart for 1st time
Carter Stewart Jr, the first marquee American amateur to turn pro with a Japanese pro club, was added to the SoftBank Hawks’ active roster for the first time on Friday.
The 21-year-old Stewart is 2-0 this season in three games with the Hawks’ Western League farm club. In 14 innings, he has allowed five runs, two earned, while giving up 17 hits but no home runs. He has walked three while striking out 15.
Sakamoto ties shortstop record
Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto tied Takashi Toritani’s NPB record for games at shortstop with his 1,777th on Thursday, Hochi Shimbun reported.
The 32-year-old also hit his 382nd career double, making all but a lock to become the youngest player in NPB history to reach 400 doubles. Toritani played short in 1,761 games with the Hanshin Tigers and has 16 games there since joining the Lotte Marines last year.
Bill James’ “favorite toy” career assessment projection gives Sakamoto a 34 percent chance of becoming the second player with 3,000 hits in NPB history after Isao Harimoto, and zero percent chance of meeting Ichiro Suzuki’s top-flight pro career total of 4,367.
Lions imports on deck
The four Seibu Lions imports who were unable to enter Japan before the start of the season, first baseman Ernesto Mejia, utility man Cory Spangenberg, and starting pitchers Zach Neal and Matt Dermody, have all completed their quarantines after arriving in Japan on April 2, SponichiAnnex reported Friday. Mejia and Spangenberg are slated to play an Eastern League game on Sunday.
“It’s still early days and our young players have been doing a good job for us, so there’s no need to push them back too quickly,” manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji said. “I don’t intend to call them up so they can get one pinch-hitting plate appearance. I want them when they’re game fit and ready.”
If things go as expected, the pair could be available to play against the Rakuten Eagles next Friday (April 23). The plan for Neal and Dermody is for each to get two tune-up games on the farm.
Carp’s Cron fit and ready to play
First-year Hiroshima Carp import Kevin Cron, deactivated on April 5 due to the dreaded “lack of lower body fitness,” went 1-for-3 in Thursday’s Western League game against Chunichi, Daily Sports reported Friday. Cron drove in the game’s first run and left for a defensive replacement in the sixth inning. Afterward, the 28-year-old reported he was fit and ready to go.
He said since his deactivation he’s been able to get plenty of sleep and has been able to get in some hard work has moved well and been able to enjoy playing ball.
30-something Swallows freed from quarantine
The Yakult Swallows have played well since they’ve had to do without a handful of players deactivated due to the coronavirus, but Hochi Shimbun reported Friday that on-base machine Norichika Aoki (39) first baseman Seiichi Uchikawa (38) and infielder Shingo Kawabata (33) would be activated Friday.
The three former batting champs — who between them have one less than Ichiro Suzuki had before he moved to the major leagues – each played in two Eastern League games, and will now be available for the weekend series at Koshien Stadium against the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers.
Fighters vs Eagles: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT
BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Dragons vs Carp: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 4/16/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/26
|Hawks||P||2||Carter Stewart, Jr.|