Tag Archives: Hiromi Ito

NPB wrap 6-16-21

Interleague final day: CL 49, PL 48

A day after rescuing the Central League’s reputation by clinching an overall winning record in interleague, the Hiroshima Carp fell 8-1 to the Pacific League’s doormats, the Nippon Ham Fighters, leaving the CL record this year at 49-48-11 while being outscored 475-433.

Wins are the purpose of the exercise, so congratulations CL and keep moving in the right direction. I’m curious how this is going to play in the media, but remember, nobody seemed to think that the interleague dominance from say 2010 to 2019 meant anything until the CL’s Giants were swept in two straight Japan Series, then it was like, “Hey what’s been going on here? This isn’t supposed to happen.”

So I suppose that some will take this year’s results to indicate that the CL is now on a par with the PL, but if the CL loses the Japan Series for a ninth straight year — equaling the nine straight the PL lost to the Giants from 1965 to 1973, then those people will stop pointing to this year’s interleague as an indicator of success.

Fighters 8, Carp 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, a close game for five innings, a couple of balls were hit hard in a two-run Fighters third inning of Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (5-4) and rookie right-hander Hiromi Ito (4-4) struck out eight and walked two over six innings while allowing an unearned run.

It was a pretty good game until the final innings. Both starting pitchers worked ahead in counts and challenged batters. The Fighters blew it open in a two-run sixth off reliever Robert Corniel. After back-to-back no-out singles, a sacrifice advanced the runners and a passed ball brought one in. With the pitcher on-deck, Fighters catcher Ryo Ishikawa squeezed home the runner from third on the next pitch.

Japan names its Olympic squad

Masahiro Tanaka was named to pitch for Japan in the Tokyo Olympics. He’s the only holdover from the powerful all-star stocked team that went to Beijing in 2008 and came back empty.

Japan may have gotten the better of South Korea in two final-round WBC games, but the Olympics have historically turned Japan’s biggest stars to jelly. Japan’s amateurs won a bronze and a silver before pros were allowed.

Since 2000, they’ve won one bronze, in the 2004 games when South Korea was eliminated in Asian qualifying by Taiwan. In both 2000 and 2008, Japan’s losses to South Korea meant their Asian rivals won medals and Japan didn’t.

The pressure will be intense on Japan. Even in the last Premier 12, only Seiya Suzuki looked like the stud he usually is. The other guys looked like they had all been swapped out for their less-talented twins. I mean, who knows for sure if that was actually Nobuhiro Matsuda batting .125 or his twin brother, Noriaki? Did anyone check?

Anyway, here’s Japan’s roster, as announced Wednesday by manager Atsunori Inaba. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that two-thirds of the players chosen come from the CL, because well, the leagues are equally talented, right?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather have Yuki Matsui than either Kota Nakagawa or Yasuaki Yamasaki. I’d also have Ryutaro Umeno rather than Tsubasa Aizawa as my other catcher, but it’s hard to fault the rest of the choices.


No. NameTeam
11Tomoyuki SuganoGiants
12Koyo AoyagiTigers
13Suguru IwazakiTigers
15Masato MorishitaCarp
17Yoshinobu YamamotoBuffaloes
18Masahiro TanakaEagles
19Yasuaki YamasakiBayStars
20Ryoji KuribayashiCarp
22Yudai OnoDragons
41Kota NakagawaGiants
61Kaima TairaLions


10Takuya KaiHawks
27Tsubasa AizawaCarp


1Tetsuto YamadaSwallows
2Sosuke GendaLions
3Hideto AsamuraEagles
4Ryosuke KikuchiCarp
6Hayato SakamotoGiants
55Munetaka MurakamiSwallows


8Kensuke KondoFighters
9Yuki YanagitaHawks
31Ryoya KuriharaHawks
34Masataka YoshidaBuffaloes
51Seiya SuzukiCarp

Active roster moves 6/16/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/26

Central League


CarpP11Aren Kuri


GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
DragonsC39Ayatsugu Yamashita
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa

Pacific League




MarinesOF10Shohei Kato

Hirano back with a buzz

Yoshihisa Hirano fielded questions from the media on Wednesday, following his return to the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes for the first time in four years. The 36-year-old right-hander signed a one-year deal reportedly worth 150 million yen ($1.43 million) with additional incentives.

Here are some excerpts from the presser provided by Sankei Sports:

  • Hirano: “I’m so looking forward to being able to play in Japan again. I’m overjoyed. I desire to my very best for Orix.
  • Is your buzz cut an expression of your determination?
  • Hirano: “(Laughs) I guess so. If you want to say that it’s fine by me.”
  • Hirano:“When last season ended, I thought, ‘Of course I want to stay in America,’ but given the state of the world now, the desire to play in Japan began to take shape.”
  • Hirano:“In the difficult circumstances posed by the coronavirus, I’m appreciative of the warm welcome, and the only way to repay that is by winning a championship.”
  • about your one-year contract…
  • Hirano: “Right now I’m not thinking about going back over there. My thinking is to approach each year as its own challenge. Physically, I’m in the same condition I always am at this stage.”
  • You are coming back just like Masahiro Tanaka…
  • Hirano: “Hey, this is me we’re talking about. I don’t think I’m quite comparable yet to young Mr. Tanaka.”

Kodai Senga sidelined

SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga, who either led or tied for the Pacific League lead in wins, strikeouts and ERA last year, will join the team’s rehab group due to calf pain in both legs, manager Kimiyasu Kudo said Wednesday according to Sponichi Annex.

There is plenty of time for him to be fit in time for the Hawks’ March 26 season opener against the Lotte Marines, but Kudo said the move was a cautionary step.

“He’s not running now, and we aren’t going to push it,” Kudo said. “We want him to return 100 percent fit and want him to go at his speed without rushing. We don’t have a plan right now, but that’s the situation.”

Fighters see 2-way possibilities for Ito

He’s not Shohei Ohtani, but the Hiromi Ito, the Nippon Ham Fighters’ top pick in last autumn’s draft, could be their next candidate to contribute on both sides of the ball, the Nikkan Sports reported Wednesday.

“From the very start, we talked about maybe playing two-ways,” Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama said of the pitcher, a hard-throwing right-hander who has been flashing his foot speed in camp. “It doesn’t matter whether he does or doesn’t, but it was just one of the things I was thinking of.”

“Perhaps he could aim to lead the league in stolen bases as a pinch-runner before taking the mound as a closer. I need to give it some thought.”