Tag Archives: Roster moves

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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NPB wrap 3-30-21

Kishi throws season’s 1st shutout

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Takayuki Kishi scattered eight singles while striking out seven and walking none for the Rakuten Eagles, who spoiled the Lotte Marines’ home opener, 5-0 in the Pacific League on Tuesday.

Kishi, who went 7-0 last year despite walking 20 batters over 67-1/3 innings, a fairly high rate for him, got back into his more normal groove. The 36-year-old elder statesman of the Eagles’ staff poured a little cold water on tradition in the postgame hero interview.

“I wasn’t thinking I was going to go all the way and finish the game. I wasn’t going to do anything counterproductive. I just focused on pitching as well as I could to get guys out,” he said.

Southpaw Kazuya Ojima (0-1) took on the mostly left-handed-hitting Eagles and took his lumps from their big right-handed bat, Hideto Asamura, who homered, and singled in a run. Eigoro Mogi followed Asamura’s sixth-inning single with a three-run homer.

The Marines activated slugging infielder Brandon Laird for the game. The 33-year-old managed just 39 games last season before injuries intervened. The one-time Mexico international went 1-for-3 against Kishi.

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the SoftBank Hawks improved to 4-0 on the season with a 3-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes. Hawks lefty Shunsuke Kasaya (1-0) allowed a run over six innings on Adam Jones’ leadoff shot in the second. Kasaya struck out seven and walked two.

The Buffaloes got solid work from lefty Daiki Tajima, who gave up two runs over six innings. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai cannoned a pitch from Tyler Higgins over the wall in left to complete the scoring in the seventh, while Steven Moya went 1-for-3 for the Buffaloes.

At Sapporo Dome, rookie Brandon Taiga Tysinger, an Okinawa native who went to university in Hokkaido, returned there with a two-run homer, an RBI single and a sac fly as the Seibu Lions handed the Nippon Ham Fighters an 11-4, 3-1/2-hour beating in their home opener.

Hotaka Yamakawa, the PL’s 2018 MVP and another Okinawa native, homered in the first to open the scoring off lefty side-armer Ryo Kawano (0-1) but hurt himself stepping awkwardly on the first-base bag and came out of the game.

Yamasaki returns in bullpen blowup

At Yokohama Stadium, Yasutaka Shiomi doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the Yakult Swallows won for the first time this season in the Central League, coming from three runs down to beat the DeNA BayStars 5-4.

Lefty Kenta Ishida and former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki combined to allow four eighth-inning runs with Shingo Kawabata teeing off on a high first-pitch fastball from the former Japan closer Yamasaki to put the visitors in front.

Trailing 4-1 in the eighth, Norichika Aoki’s clone, Kotaro Yamasaki, worked a leadoff walk against the normally reliable Ishida. With two outs, Ishida appeared to lose the plot after left-handed-hitting slugger Munetaka Murakami checked his swing on a pair of two-strike high fastballs to draw a walk.

Seiichi Uchikawa, who began his career as a big-hitting second baseman for the BayStars 20 years earlier and is back in the CL for the first time in 11 years, ripped a fat 1-0 slider up the middle for an RBI single to score Yamasaki.

Having allowed a run in each of his relief appearances over the weekend against the Giants, Ishida was yanked in favor of Yasuaki Yamasaki. Shiomi hit a 1-1 splitter to the wall in left that Taiki Sekine failed to time properly, allowing it to go for a two-run double, and Kawabata drilled a first-pitch fastball to the gap in right for a Swallows lead.

Albert Suarez started for the Swallows and allowed three runs over four innings, while the BayStars wasted seven solid innings from Shinichi Onuki.

The BayStars remain winless after two wins and a tie over the weekend.

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, 2020 Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono lacked the sharp command that was his trademark from the middle of last season, but gutted out seven innings while allowing two runs in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-3 nine-inning tie against the Yomiuri Giants.

Angel Sanchez allowed two unearned runs over seven innings for the Giants, while Zelous Wheeler, hitting in the two hole for Yomiuri, went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Dragons cleanup hitter Dayan Viciedo put the hosts ahead in the second with a two-run single after a mental mistake by Giants third baseman Kazuma Okamoto prolonged the inning.

Defending No. 2

The pro yakyu news cast spent five minutes discussing the merits of Wheeler in the No. 2 hole, which is no surprise, since Japanese dogma since about 1980 demands that spot be taken by a guy who sacrifices and hits behind the runner and is typically a small, fast glove man.

“I used Wheeler when I was manager of the Eagles. He’s smart, always thinking of the base running situation as a hitter,” Hiromoto “Dave” Okubo said.

This is just another example of the language we get to justify the use of guys in the No. 2 spot whose only offensive skills are bunting and grounding out behind the runner. Because Wheeler isn’t one of those guys, a lot of the old boys need an excuse to justify his batting there.

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, 2020 rookie of the year Masato Morishita (1-0) struck out seven over six innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 1-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers, who suffered their first loss.

Once Morishita left the game, the Tigers managed three hits off the Hiroshima bullpen, but two of those batters, Jerry Sands and rookie Teruaki Sato, were erased trying to leg out doubles against right fielder Teruaki Sato. Sato ended the game striking out against rookie Carp closer Ryoji Kuribayashi, who recorded his second save.

Sugano deactivated

Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano was deactivated on Tuesday after feeling discomfort and slight pain in his leg Kyodo News (Japanese) reported.

The report said he is only expected to miss one start.

Last season’s Central League MVP, Sugano turned down offers from MLB clubs after the Giants posted him and signed a one-year deal to remain in Japan for the 2021 season. He made his seventh career Opening Day start on Friday, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings.

Welcome back

Two SoftBank Hawks’ players, outfielder Wladimir Balentien and pitcher Nick Martinez, both entered Japan on Tuesday, Nishinihon Sports reported.

Balentien may count as a domestically-registered player but unfortunately, that doesn’t cut any weight with the immigration office that had been keeping non-residents from entering Japan, until pro baseball and soccer players were added to an entry waiver used for emergency workers, because, well, baseball and soccer are urgent.

No word on Senga after farm outing

SoftBank Hawks skipper Kimiyasu Kudo said he hadn’t made a decision on whether to activate ace Kodai Senga after the right-hander allowed three runs on nine hits over seven innings in the minors on Tuesday, Nishinihon sports reported.

“I’ve been informed of how he did, but I haven’t seen the video yet, so I can’t say what’s next for him,” Kudo said.

Fighters’ top pick to start Wednesday

Right-hander Hiromi Ito, a Hokkaido native and the Nippon Ham Fighters’ first pick in last autumn’s draft, will make his pro debut on Wednesday against the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Hiromi Ito (-) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-4, 6.13)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Daiki Iwashita (7-7, 4.20) vs Takahiro Norimoto (5-7, 3.96)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirotoshi Masui (2-2, 3.03) vs Kotaro Otake (2-0, 2.30)

Central League

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Taisei Irie (-) vs Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-6, 4.12)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-5, 3.88) vs Shoichi Ino (6-7, 3.94)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hiroki Tokoda (5-8, 4.93) vs Masashi Ito (-)

Roster moves

Active roster moves 3/30/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/9

Central League

Activated

GiantsP15Angel Sanchez
TigersP16Yuki Nishi
DragonsP22Yudai Ono
BayStarsP16Shinichi Onuki
CarpP18Masato Morishita
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez
SwallowsOF8Shota Nakayama

Dectivated

GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
MarinesP43Kazuya Ojima
MarinesIF54Brandon Laird
LionsP17Wataru Matsumoto
EaglesP11Takayuki Kishi
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
FightersOF4Yuya Taniguchi
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima
BuffaloesP52Tyler Higgins
BuffaloesIF3Ryoichi Adachi

Dectivated

BuffaloesP37Hayate Nakagawa
BuffaloesIF4Shuhei Fukuda

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