Tag Archives: Seiichi Uchikawa

NPB news: Sept. 21, 2023

I need to apologize for being AWOL for the past few days as some big games took place. Since I came back from vacation, both league pennants were settled, and for the first time since the Nankai Hawks and Hanshin Tigers won their leagues in 1964, two Kansai teams are champions in the same year – largely because the Tigers have never had a dynasty the way the Hawks did in Osaka and the Hankyu Braves did up the hill at Nishinomiya Stadium before both franchises were sold after the 1988 season.

With the Buffaloes clinching on Wednesday, attention turned to the two tight battles for second and third in each league, while a player, who was at the forefront of a revolution in Japanese baseball, called it quits.

Thursday’s games

Hawks 4, Marines 2: At Fukuoka Dome, SoftBank’s former Fighters, Kensuke Kondo and Kohei Arihara (9-4) were the difference. Kondo’s 23rd home run made it 4-1 in the first inning after Gregory Polanco retained his share of the PL home run lead with his 25th in the top of the inning.

Atsuki Taneichi (10-6) struck out five straight after Kondo’s home run, and his seven Ks over five innings pushed him into the league lead with 153, ahead of Yoshinobu Yamamoto‘s 148.

The third-place Hawks, whose only losing records this season are against the two teams they’re tussling with for two playoff spots, the Marines and Eagles, moved to within a game of the Marines, and pulled 1-1/2 in front of the Eagles.

Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 21, 2023

Bour to be wild

The Hanshin Tigers released first baseman Justin Bour on Friday after he cleared waivers. Bour was dropped from the team’s active roster on Oct. 23 and there was some confusion at the time about his future with the club.

The Tigers are infamous for giving up on first-year players without any kind of real chance to make adjustments, although they gave Bour most of a full year to get acclimated. Jefry Marte, who was hurt much of the year, was called up when Bour was dropped and played well the rest of the season.

Bour means there is still a first baseman on the market, after the Yakult Swallows agreed to terms with soon to be released SoftBank Hawks captain Seiichi Uchikawa.

Uchikawa, one of two players to win batting titles in both of Japan’s top leagues, was also the first Central League star in his prime to sign directly with a Pacific League club after filing for free agency. His move from the BayStars to the Hawks signaled the start of the Hawks’ current dynasty.

In addition to keeping star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada from filing for free agency by signing him to a seven-year extension, the Swallows also locked up closer Taichi Ishiyama, who was eligible to move to another NPB team as a domestic free agent.

Norichika Aoki, who has achieved a remarkable career renaissance since returning from the majors after the 2017 season, has also reportedly agreed to a multi-year extension.