Hisashi Iwakuma, back in Japan for the first time since 2011, threw his third bullpen in a week on Sunday at the Yomiuri Giants’ minor league facility in Kawasaki, across the river from Tokyo.
The 38-year-old threw 40 pitches but not at full strength as he was focusing on his mechanics after having shoulder trouble in February. Iwakuma had shoulder surgery in September 2017
“I feel strong enough so I wanted to see how it felt throwing with a little less effort. My feel for my pitching form largely matched how I was throwing,” he said. “I think I’m moving forward, and now I need to take the next step.”
Iwakuma threw his first bullpen since camp on May 14.
You can see the original Japanese language Nikkan Sports report HERE.
The association of former Kintetsu Buffaloes players will cease activities, the organization’s president, Hall of Fame pitcher Keishi Suzuki announced Saturday.
“It’s sad, but we decided to bring it to a close,” Suzuki said. “There’s no one who can become a new member.”
“The team no longer exists. We persisted thinking we could accomplish something, but we’ve reached our limit.”
The Buffaloes, founded ahead of the 1950 season when Japan’s league expanded and split into the Central and Pacific leagues. The club ceased to exist after the 2004 season when it was merged into the PL rival Orix BlueWave. That merger, announced and essentially approved without the consent of the players sparked NPB’s only players strike, expansion, and wide-ranging changes to the business of baseball in Japan.
The only former Buffaloes players still active are Hisashi Iwakuma, who is joining the Yomiuri Giants from the Seattle Mariners this season, and two players now with the CL’s Yakult Swallows, pitcher Kazuki Kondo and outfielder-first baseman Tomotaka Sakaguchi.
At the time the Buffaloes folded, they were the only one of NPB teams at the time never to have won the Japan Series.