Tag Archives: Munetaka Murakami

NPB wrap 4-6-21

Marines’ Sasaki on track for 1st team

Rocket-armed teenager Roki Sasaki is currently on track to start sometime around Japan’s Golden Week holidays from the end of this month through the first week of May, Lotte Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi revealed according to the Nikkan Sports.

“If he stays on the right course, and does well, our program for him will have him with the first team by Golden Week,” Iguchi said of the 19-year-old.

Sasaki struck out three of the six batters he faced in his minor league debut on Friday. The club has been bringing him along slowly after a first season in which the team did not allow him to pitch in a game, citing the amount of time it took his body to recover from bullpens and simulated games.

Some video from Sasaki’s pro debut.

Hawks ace ends season debut on stretcher

Hawks 7, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Kodai  Senga (1-0) ended the SoftBank Hawks losing streak with 5-2/3  impressive innings before his final out ended his season debut. The right-hander gloved a liner bound to hit him in the face but fell over backward awkwardly and appeared to be in pain as he clutched his left ankle. Ryoya Kurihara capped a three-run first off journeyman Takahide Ikeda (0-2). Hawks rookie Yuki Tsumori took over for Senga and struck out all four batters he faced.

Eagles 13, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Rakuten Eagles right-hander Takayuki Kishi (2-0) allowed two runs over six innings against his old team, while Seibu Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (1-1) issued four one-out walks in the first, allowed a tie-breaking solo homer in the third.

Trailing 2-1, the Lions pulled their starter after 90 pitches through four innings, and brought in former PL MVP Mitsuo Yoshikawa, purchased over the winter by Nippon Ham. Hijinks ensued with eight runs scoring in one-plus inning with the lefty on the mound. Four Lions pitchers combined to walk 13 batters.

Buffaloes 3, Marines 3

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Leonys Martin hit a three-run home run, his fourth, for the Lotte Marines off Orix lefty Daiki Tajima, who struck out seven over seven innings. Marines starter Kazuya Ojima gave up three runs, two earned over six innings.

Moya tags himself out

The most Buffalo play of the day was from Steven Moya, running on a one-out full count to Yuma Tongu, was tagged before he reached the base without realizing Tongu had walked. Marines second baseman Shogo Nakamura willingly tagged Moya out as he left the base en route to the visitors’ dugout.

Tigers 6, Giants 2, 7 innings, rain

At Koshien Stadium, after playing their weekend home series indoors at Osaka Dome, the Hanshin Tigers returned home to Koshien Stadium and the rain. Yuki Nishi (1-1) allowed two runs over the seven-inning distance. Jerry Sands singled to lead off the Tigers’ two-run second against Angel Sanchez (0-1) and doubled in their four-run third.

Kazuya Katsuki, the power-hitting minor leaguer acquired last summer for Hirokazu Sawamura, hit a two-run homer in the fifth for the virus-hit Giants. The Tigers’ Jefry Marte walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

The umpires called the game without first suspending play, which is not against the rules, as Pro Yakyu News’ Hiromoto Okubo asserted, but it is not common practice, causing Giants manager Tatsunori Hara to protest.

Carp 2, Swallows 0

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Masato Morishita (2-0), the Central League’s 2020 rookie of the year, was overpowering at times as he scattered five hits and two walks over the distance. Albert Suarez (0-1), deactivated last Wednesday in the Swallows’ coronavirus mass deactivation, returned and allowed a run over six innings.

Ryoma Nishikawa opened the scoring with a sixth-inning home run off a pretty good pitch from Suarez. Morishita ended a two-out, two-on jam in the bottom of the inning by throwing a fastball down the pipe past Munetaka Murakami that was worth the price of admission.

BayStars 7, Dragons 3

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Kazuki Kamizato hit a grand slam off Sawamura Award-winner Yudai Ono (0-1), who allowed five runs over six innings. BayStars starter Shinichi Onuki (1-0) struck out 6, while allowing three runs over 5-2/3 innings. Rookie Shugo Maki hit his second homer for the BayStars, who won their second game and their second straight.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hiromi Ito (0-0, 1.50) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (1-0, 1.50)

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (0-0, 0.00) vs Takahiro Norimoto (1-0, 1.42)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Daiki Iwashita (0-1, 3.18) vs Hirotoshi Masui (1-0, 0.00)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-0, 5.40) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.00)

Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (0-0, 8.10) vs Taisei Irie (0-1, 9.00)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masashi Ito (0-0, 3.60) vs Seishu Hatake (-)

Active roster moves 4/6/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/16

Central League

Activated

GiantsP64Ryusei Oe
GiantsIF0Daiki Masuda
GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
GiantsOF9Yoshiyuki Kamei
CarpIF35Takumi Miyoshi
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez
SwallowsC33Soma Uchiyama

Dectivated

GiantsIF68Yuto Akihiro

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP35Livan Moinelo
HawksP41Kodai Senga
HawksC62Takashi Umino

Dectivated

None

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NPB WRAP 4-3-21

Taguchi gets revenge but not payback

At Tokyo Dome, Kazuto Taguchi (1-1) hurled his best stuff at his former teammates on Saturday in his first start against the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants since his March trade to the Yakult Swallows.

The Giants, however, survived seven scoreless innings from Taguchi and Munetaka Murakami’s first-inning two-run homer off Shosei Togo with two runs off Yakult’s bullpen in their 2-2 nine-inning tie.

The Giants, who lost 2-0 the night before on Murakami’s third homer of the year, pitched around him after that. He twice led off innings that went nowhere after two failed bunts.

Taguchi, one of Japan’s slowest starting pitchers, with an average fastball velocity during his years in the Giants’ rotation of less than 138 kph, had a better fastball than he had even as a reliever over the past three seasons in a Giants uniform.

That and near-perfect command of his secondary pitches allowed him to throw seven scoreless innings. He allowed five hits, including one to reserve infielder Taishi Hirooka–whom he was traded for– while walking one, hitting one, striking out six and getting two double plays.

The Giants got on the board n the eighth on two-out doubles by Zelous Wheeler and Hayato Sakamoto off right-hander Noboru Shimizu, who ended the inning by striking out slugger Kazuma Okamoto on 10 pitches. Wheeler went 2-for-4, while Sakamoto had three hits.

Togo walked three and struck out seven while hitting one over eight innings. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth before the hosts tied it off closer Taichi Ishiyama, who surrendered a one-out single from Hiroyuki Nakajima and Akihiro Wakabayashi’s two-out pinch-hit RBI double.

Giants-Swallows highlights

At Yokohama Stadium, Allen Kuri (2-0) allowed three runs on six hits and no walks over six innings, and up and coming catcher Shogo Sakakura blasted a grand slam, lifting the Hiroshima Carp to a 7-3 win, extending the DeNA BayStars’ franchise-worst season-opening winless streak to eight games.

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, reserve utility infielder Yasutaka Yamamoto singled in the game’s only run as the Hanshin Tigers walked off 1-0 winners over the Chunichi Dragons. Robert Suarez worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Tigers to earn his first win.

Kosuke Fukudome, who returned to the Nagoya-based Dragons, where he began his pro career 22 years ago, doubled in the second for his first hit after being cast off by the Tigers over the winter. He went 1-for-3. He was walked intentionally, struck out and grounded into a double play.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, reserve infielder Wu Nien-ting went 3-for-4 with a walks and a double and five RBIs as the Seibu Lions handed the defending Pacific League champion SoftBank Hawks their fourth-straight loss.

Seibu’s Shota Hamaya (1-1), their second pick in the 2019 draft, allowed a run over five innings, while Rei Takahashi (0-1), the PL’s 2019 rookie of the year, walked six, hit two and gave up five runs over six innings.

The Lions took a six-run lead into the ninth but had to call upon closer Tatsushi Masuda, who faced one batter, veteran Yuya Hasegawa and retired him to snuff out a late rally and earn his second save.

Lions lose Tonosaki

Lions second baseman Shuta Tonosaki suffered a fractured left fibula when a pitch hit him near his ankle to force in a first-inning run. The Lions are already without cleanup hitter and 2018 MVP Hotaka Yamakawa after the slugger miss-stepped rounding first base on a home run.

The Lions’ four-player foreign contingent, right-hander Zach Neal, new lefty Matt Dermody, first baseman Ernesto Mejia and utility man Cory Spangenberg only arrived in Japan on Friday and now must undergo 14 days of quarantine before joining the team.

At Rakuten Seimei Park, it was another Saturday with a battalion of Rakuten Eagles relievers in place of Masahiro Tanaka as seven pitchers held the Orix Buffaloes in check in a 3-2 win.

The Eagles scored three off Taishi Yamaoka (0-2) over four innings. Eagles closer Yuki Matsui struck out two in the ninth to record his third save.

Steven Moya went 1-for-3 and scored the Buffaloes’ first run after doubling to open the fourth.

Tanaka could debut on 17th

Masahiro Tanaka will make his season debut as early as Saturday, April 10, Rakuten Eagles manager Kazuhisa Ishii Sponichi Annex has reported.

Tanaka was deactivated just before Opening Day last week with a soleus muscle injury in his right calf and was expected to be out of action for three weeks.

“At the earliest, it will be the 10th,” Ishii said Saturday. “The next opportunity will be the 17th. Barring that it will be the 20th-something on a Saturday.”

The plan is for the right-hander to skip a rehab outing on the farm and go straight to the Pacific League active roster. Next Saturday’s game will be at home against the SoftBank Hawks. The Eagles are scheduled to visit the Fighters at Tokyo Dome the following week.

Ishii denied the team was rushing their returning former ace, who was originally scheduled for the start at Tokyo Dome.

“He could pitch before that. It might not require him to be out until the 17th,” Ishii said. “It’s not like we’re rushing him. If Tanaka’s fit, he could go on the 10th. If we think, ‘Let’s wait,’ we’ll wait another week and look at the 17th. It all depends on how he feels.”

At Sapporo Dome, Shogo Nakamura drove in three runs for the second straight game for the Lotte Marines, who came from behind to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 6-5 for their third straight win.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda worked around a one-out Sho Nakata double to notch his first save, while Takashi Toritani, who joined Lotte a year ago after being discarded by Hanshin, became the 44th player to score 1,000 career runs.

Japan’s career leader in runs scored is Sadaharu Oh with 1,967. Oh leads the runner-up former Hankyu Braves leadoff man and career stolen base king Yutaka Fukumoto by 311 runs. Toritani was playing in his 2,218th game.

Here are the top five:

NameRPlayedG
1Sadaharu Oh1,967(1959-1980)2,831
2Yutaka Fukumoto1,656(1969-1988)2,401
3Isao Harimoto1,523(1959-1981)2,752
4Katsuya Nomura1,509(1954-1980)3,017
5Tomoaki Kanemoto1,430(1992-2012)2,578

Stewart throws 5 scoreless innings

Carter Stewart Jr. threw five scoreless innings for the SoftBank Hawks’ Western League farm team on Saturday in a 7-0 win over the WL Chunichi Dragons , Pacific League Insight reported.

The story said Stewart allowed a hit in each inning but didn’t buckle under pressure. He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five.

In his only previous outing this season, Stewart allowed a run on five hits over two innings while walking one and striking out three.

Stewart joined the Hawks on a six-year deal in 2019.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Fighters vs Marines: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takayuki Kato (1-0, 3.60) vs Shota Suzuki (0-0, 3.60)

Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (1-0, 0.00) vs Hiroya Miyagi (1-0, 1.29)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 2.70) vs Katsunori Hirai (1-0, 0.00)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Nobutaka Imamura (0-0, 1.29) vs Yuto Kanakubo (-)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kosuke Sakaguchi (-) vs Yusuke Nomura (0-0, 0.00)

Tigers vs Dragons: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Joe Gunkel (1-0, 0.00) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (0-0, 0.00)

Active roster moves 4/3/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/13

Central League

Activated

SwallowsOF0Hidetaka Namiki

Dectivated

GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP23Hayato Yuge
EaglesP62Naoto Nishiguchi
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka

Dectivated

LionsIF49Brandon Taiga Tysinger
EaglesP40Takuma Uchima
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida

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Spring wrap 3-12-21

Yamamoto turns back the clock

Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto reminded us how it used to be on Saturday with a 99-pitch, eight-inning preseason exhibition start.

Daily Sports reported that according to NPB BIS, the eight innings tied him for the longest preseason start in Japan since 1999. But that’s nothing, in March 1975, 13 pitchers threw complete games in preseason exhibitions.

Yamamoto, the Buffaloes’ Opening Day starter, struck out eight, while allowing a run on three hits and a walk. Yoshihisa Hirano, freshly returned from a three-year stint in the majors, surrendered two runs in the ninth in a 3-2 loss to the Yomiuri Giants at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Here are all eight of Yamamoto’s strikeouts:

The Giants’ Opening Day starter, Tomoyuki Sugano, struck out three over five scoreless innings. Giants catcher Takumi Oshiro homered and doubled off Yamamoto, which counts as a good day regardless when it happens.

Sasaki takes mound, really

Roki Sasaki only faced three batters on Saturday at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, but because of him, the Lotte Marines sold all 5,000 tickets they offered for their Friday afternoon exhibition against the Chunichi Dragons.

Sasaki struck out Dayan Viciedo on a borderline outside pitch to end his 1-2-3 sixth inning on 12 pitches. So after more than a year as a pro, Sasaki, who may have been the hardest-throwing Japanese high school pitcher in his history, has finally played in a game.

Sasaki came on in relief of Kota Futaki. Lotte’s Opening Day starter struck out four without a walk over five scoreless innings.

Dragons starter Shinnosuke Ogasawara, whose left elbow may bear a good housekeeping seal since its been cleaned so many times in his brief career, allowed three runs over five innings on three walks and six hits. The lefty’s one strikeout victim was Leonys Martin, who had two hits and singled in a run for Lotte.

Yota Kyoda and Shuhei Takahashi each hit solo homers for the Dragons.

Tigers’ rookie Sato blasts off again

At Koshien Stadium, Teruaki Sato, one of the two big prizes in last autumn’s NPB draft along with rookie Rakuten Eagles lefty Takahisa Hayakawa, blasted yet another opposite-field home run to Koshien Stadium’s remote left-field stands in a 3-3 rain-shortened tie with the Seibu Lions.

In another match-up between Opening Day starters, the Tigers’ Shintaro Fujinami and the Lions’ Kona Takahashi each allowed three runs over five innings.

Lions catcher Tomoya Mori, the PL’s 2019 MVP, got the better of his reunion with Fujinami, whom he caught during their time together at Osaka Toin High School, with a first-inning RBI double. Fujinami struck out three, walked three and allowed three hits.

Chen Wei-yin and Robert Suarez each worked a scoreless inning for the Tigers, while Jefry Marte hit his second homer of the spring off Takahashi. The right-hander allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked three. The PL’s 2020 rookie of the year, Kaima Taira, worked a scoreless sixth.

Murakami goes deep against Hawks

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult Swallows youngster Munekata Murakami homered for the second straight game, hitting a two-run shot off the SoftBank Hawks Opening Day starter Shuta Ishikawa in their 8-8 tie.

Seiichi Uchikawa, whose free agent move to the Hawks in 2011 was the first by an elite CL player in his prime and ushered in SoftBank’s decade of dominance, got one hit in two plate appearances with his new club.

Ishikawa struck out seven while walking four, which is normal for him, but the nine hits and five runs in 5-2/3 innings were out of character.

Swallows right-hander Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa, their Opening Day starter, worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out five. But the Hawks bashed enigmatic right-hander Juri Hara for six runs in the sixth.

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Spring wrap 3-10-21

On Wednesday, the Seibu Lions took a hammer to Koji Fukutani, who has been announced as the Chunichi Dragons’ Opening Day Starter. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed 10 runs on 12 hits over three innings in the exhibition at Vantelin Nagoya Dome in a 14-2 loss.

Center fielder Gakuto Wakabayashi, the Lions’ fourth pick out of Komazawa University, drew a first-inning walk from Fukutani and hit a three-run homer in the third. Third baseman Brandon Taiga Tysinger, the Lions sixth pick out of the Tokyo University of Agriculture, Okhotsk, singled twice was hit by a pitch and belted a three-run home run off lefty Hiroto Fuku, one of the Dragons’ key bullpen guys.

Lions starter Tatsuya Imai, who walked more batters last season (52) than he struck out (44) in 61-2/3 innings last season, allowed an unearned run over five innings.

At Koshien Stadium, Hiroshima Carp newcomer Kevin Cron struck out in both of his at-bats after homering in each of his last two games, but the big news will be new Tiger youngster Teruaki Sato, who put a sweet swing on a straight fastball down the pipe from Tayler Scott and knocked it 10 rows back in left center, a huge poke.      

Sato, the Tigers’ first pick out of Kinki University, has been the talk of the spring. He started at third and had an infield single and a double in three at-bats. Jerry Sands, who homered in his first two preseason at-bats last weekend, went 1-for-3 with a double.

In Shizuoka, because no visiting team wants to play outdoor games in chilly Sendai in the spring until they have to when the regular season starts, the Rakuten Eagles hosted the Lotte Marines away from home. Lotte scored eight runs off three of the Eagles’ key pitchers, tagging starter Takahiro Norimoto for three runs on four hits but no walks over 4-1/3 innings.

Alan Busenitz, who saved 18 games in a 2020 season split between setting up and closing, gave up two runs on four hits in the seventh, and Yuki Matsui, the team’s closer for four of the last six seasons, for three runs on four hits and a walk in the eighth.

Daiki Iwashita started for the Marines and worked four scoreless innings, while Frank Herrmann allowed an infield hit, his first of the spring in a scoreless seventh.

In Yokohama, 20-year-old third baseman Yuki James Nomura, the Nippon Ham Fighters’ second pick in 2018, singled twice and hit his third homer of the spring in an 8-3 win over the DeNA BayStars. Naoyuki Uwasawa, the Fighters’ Opening Day starter, scattered a double, five singles and two walks, while striking out five over six scoreless innings.

Right-hander Taisei Irie, the BayStars’ first-round signing out of last year’s draft, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three over four innings. He twice pitched out of jams against Fighters cleanup hitter Sho Nakata.

DeNA’s second pick last autumn, Shugo Maki, started at first and went 2-for-5, for his second straight multi-hit game.

Taiki Sekine, a 25-year-old outfielder with a superb track record in the minors, continues to flay the ball in the spring, although the organization seems convinced his future is as a reserve outfielder. Sekine’s career is now on course to be one of those guys like Takeshi Yamasaki or Shigenobu Shima, who in his age 27 season hits absolutely everything in the spring, forcing the team to give him a starting job and then becoming the story of the season.

But you know how those stories go, right? Instead of asking what the heck the team had been doing with this guy for the last five years, every story will be how he “suddenly became good.”

I rank Sekine among the five best hitting prospects in Japan’s minor leagues.

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Adam Jones drove in a run each with a single and a double off veteran Swallows southpaw Masanori Ishikawa. Prior to the game, he tweeted that he was about to something he had never done on a ball field. 0stensibly what he had never done was play first base, where he started for the Buffaloes in their 7-6 win over Yakult.

And since @SimplyAJ10 asked for it… his first-ever putout at first base as he completes a double play to retire Norichika Aoki on March 10, 2021.

The Buffaloes tagged Ishikawa for seven runs on nine hits in 1-2/3 innings. Steven Moya, who singled off the lefty in the first, sent him packing in the second with his first home run of the spring.

Swallows slugger Munetaka Murakami hit his first exhibition season homer, a two-run shot off second-year right-hander Tyler Higgins, who allowed a hit, a walk and an unearned run in the sixth.

At Fukuoka Dome, back-to-back ninth-inning doubles by Hayato Sakamoto and slugger Kazuma Okamoto tied the game 1-1 allowing the Yomiuri Giants to avoid losing 13 straight games to the SoftBank Hawks.

Shota Takeda, who is trying to reestablish himself as one of the Hawks’ front-line pitchers, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five in five scoreless innings.

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NPB 2021: Jan. 7 news

Smoak and mirai

Justin Smoak has agreed to contract terms with the Yomiuri Giants, the two-time defending champs of Japan’s Central League announced Thursday. The contract is reportedly a two-year deal worth $3 million a year.

The Giants who in 2020 failed to win Japan’s pro baseball championship for a franchise-record eighth-straight year, have now brought in the 34-year-old switch-hitting first baseman Smoak, and proven slugging corner outfielder-first baseman Eric Thames.

Smoak is coming off a truly awful 36-game 2020 season in which he hit for decent power and struck out a lot but that was a small sample. The Giants are gambling he’ll revert to something like his major league career .322 OBP and .419 slug at home run-friendly Tokyo Dome, but $6 million seems a lot for that kind of production.

The acquisition will probably mean more time behind the plate for hard-hitting catcher Takumi Oshiro.

NPB offseason market place summary

Hawks add former Cup pitcher Rea

The Pacific League champion SoftBank Hawks said Thursday they have agreed to terms with 30-year-old right-hander Colin Rea while negotiations to re-sign lefty Matt Moore are not progressing as hoped Hochi Shimbun reported.

According to the Hawks, the 1.96-meter Rae has a 153-kph fastball he supplements with a curve, slider and change.

The Hawks wanted to re-sign Moore and were unable to reserve him, while they also non-tendered veteran right-hander Rick van den Hurk.

“He put up solid numbers in Triple A, and I’ve heard he has a strong desire to play in Japan. As he adapts to the different culture and playing syle here, that would be a plus,” Hochi quoted Hawks GM Sugihiko Mikasa as saying.

Swallows Murakami latest to test positive

Yakult Swallows first baseman Munetaka Murakami, the CL’s 2019 rookie of the year, and last year’s Best Nine winner at age 20, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the club announced Thursday.

Five players who had been in close contact with Murakami, including veteran outfielder Norichika Aoki, have all tested negative.

Murakami is the latest in what has been a daily reporting of new cases as Japan announced a new state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures. On Thursday, Tokyo announced 2,000 new infections for the first time.

On Wednesday, Hanshin Tigers pitcher Minoru Iwata‘s infection was announced, while Lotte Marines’ pitcher Ayumu Ishikawa was named on Tuesday.

Sumo grand champion Hakuho has also contracted the virus and has been hospitalized.

NPB 2020 Nov. 6

Friday’s games

Other news

Watanabe goes out in style at Seibu’s expense

Retiring player-coach Naoto Watanabe got a heck of a send-off from fellow former Lion Takayuki Kishi (7-0) as the Rakuten Eagles beat Seibu 4-2 at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

The Lions fell back into a tie for second and the Pacific League’s final playoff spot with the Lotte Marines. Both teams have three games remaining, with the Lions holding the advantage in a tie-breaker.

Watanabe who spent five seasons with the Lions from 2013 to 2017 before returning to Sendai where he began his career in 2007, the same year Kishi debuted as a rookie with the Lions and finished a distant runner-up in the rookie of the year voting to Masahiro Tanaka.

Batting leadoff and starting at DH, the 40-year-old Watanabe doubled, scored the game’s first run, singled and took over at shortstop in the ninth inning, where he helped Kishi out of a jam by starting a double play and earned a standing ovation from the home crowd.

“I wanted to stay in the game long enough for Naoto to take the field on defense,” said Kishi said, who struck out 11 over the distance.

Lions rookie Shota Hamaya (3-3) allowed all four runs to suffer the loss.

Buffaloes sock it to rookie Kawano

The Orix Buffaloes tagged Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Ryusei Kawano (3-5) for four runs, three earned, over six innings in a 4-3 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome between the PL’s bottom-two clubs.

Orix’s first draft pick last autumn, 19-year-old Hiroya Miyagi (1-1) allowed three runs, two earned, over five innings to earn his first career win. Twenty-three-year-old righty Yu Suzuki, who showed some tremendous stuff if inconsistent command in his first real playing time this season, earned his first save.

Swallows spoil Yoshimi’s exit

Taishi HIrooka homered and squeezed in a run in the 10th inning as the Yakult Swallows outlasted the Chunichi Dragons 5-4 at Nagoya Dome that was the last for former ace Kazuki Yoshimi.

The 36-year-old right-hander who went 69-26 over a five-year stretch from 2008 to 2012, was limited by injury over his last eight seasons. He started Friday’s game with a strikeout before turning the ball over to rookie Yariel Rodriguez, who surrendered three runs through 4-2/3 innings.

Scott McGough (4-1) worked a scoreless ninth, and slugger Munetaka Murakami doubled to lead off the 10th with a drive near the top of the wall in dead center and scored on Hirooka’s safety squeeze. Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 19th save.

Active roster moves 11/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/16

Central League

Activated

DragonsP19Kazuki Yoshimi
SwallowsP16Juri Hara
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi

Dectivated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsP53Spencer Patton
BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
BayStarsIF6Keito Mori
BayStarsIF23Tyler Austin
TigersP16Yuki Nishi
TigersP34Masaki Tanigawa
CarpP57Norihiko Tanaka
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
CarpOF59Minoru Omori
SwallowsP15Yuma Oshita
SwallowsP48Yuto Kanakubo

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesIF26Naoto Watanabe
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi
BuffaloesC62Katsuki Yamazaki

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Nov. 7, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (2-1, 3.18) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-4, 5.31)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kota Futaki (8-3, 3.53) vs Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-3, 4.89)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nobutaka Imamura (4-2, 3.43) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-7, 4.50)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (3-3, 2.21) vs Takumi Akiyama (10-3, 3.09)