First-year pitcher Colin Rea joined the exodus of import players leaving Japan so they can be with their families, the SoftBank Hawks announced Sunday.
The 31-year-old right-hander was 3-1 in six games with a 2.03 ERA for the defending Pacific League champions, who will resume their season after the Olympic break on Friday.
In a comment in Japanese released by the club, Rea thanked the team but said the premature birth of his child created a situation from which he was unable to return after what was to be a temporary visit to his homeland.
In addition to Rea, Ernesto Mejia of the Lions, Stefen Romero of the Orix Buffaloes and Dustin Smoak of the Yomiuri Giants have all abandoned their contracts to see to their families.
On this week’s podcast, John E. Gibson speaks to Zach Neal of the Lions, who gives an update on his situation. Give it a listen when it is released on Monday.
Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano has dropped out of Japan’s team for the Tokyo Olympics and will be replaced on the roster by Nippon Ham Fighters rookie HIromi Ito.
Giants sell catcher Sumitani to Eagles
The Giants on Sunday were forced to acknowledge they have sold veteran catcher Ginjiro Sumitani to the Rakuten Eagles, who may be looking for a veteran catcher to pair with Masahiro Tanaka.
The strangest thing about the sale was not that it was made but that the Eagles made the announcement during their game, which reports have called “highly irregular.”
The thing is that sports teams in Japan like to announce news when it suits their schedules, regardless of how much is public knowledge beyond their control. This often results in international player movements that are common knowledge days or weeks before Japanese teams “announce” the news.
Buffaloes 3, Lions 2
At MetLife Dome, there was a well-pitched duel between Zach Neal (1-3)and 19-year-old Hiroya Miyagi (9-1). For Neal, it was a case of no good deed going unpunished – or in this case good pitches. Neal’s most costly mistake was a high pitch that Masataka Yoshida knocked for a tie-breaking RBI single. Otherwise, it was a case of two bunt singles by Buffaloes leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda and Buffaloes hitters making enough good contact on tough pitches to hit them where Lions fielders weren’t.
Neal also got a big assist from his defense when second baseman Shuta Tonosaki and shortstop Sosuke Genda turned a slick first-inning double play that allowed the righty to avoid surrendering more than a run.
Miyagi made few mistakes, but two of them ended up in the seats: Takeya Nakamura’s seventh homer to tie it in the second and Tonosaki’s first, to tie it 2-2 in the third.
Yoshihisa Hirano took over in the ninth and recorded his 11th save.
Marines 8, Eagles 6
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the top third of Lotte’s order, Takashi Ogino, Kyota Fujiwara and Shogo Nakamura, combined for nine hits, two walks, three doubles, a home run (Fujiwara’s first), six runs and five RBIs.
Rakuten starter Ryota Takinaka (5-4) got beaten up for six runs over 2-1/3 innings. Brandon Dixon tied it 2-2 in the second with his third home run for the Eagles, but the Marines’ Shuhei Fukuda broke a 4-4 tie in the third with a two-run double.
Hawks 5, Fighters 0
At Naha’s Okinawa Cellular Field, SoftBank’s Colin Rea (2-1) worked five innings and the Hawks pounded out 12 hits and drew five walks.
BayStars 3, Giants 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Toshiro Miyazaki’s two-run third-inning homer, his seventh, brought DeNA back from a 1-0 deficit against Yuki Takahashi (8-3), who had squeezed home the Giants’ first run. Shinichi Onuki (3-5) allowed one run over 5-2/3 innings despite giving up nine hits. He walked none and struck out five.
Takumi Oshiro hit his eighth home run in the ninth off closer Kazuki Mishima, who held on to record his 14th save.
The BayStars’ win was their first against the Giants this season.
Dragons 3, Swallows 3
At Nagoya‘sVantelin Dome, Chunichi’s Dayan Viciedo’s 13th home run, a two-run shot off setup man Noboru Shimizu, tied it up for good.
Kozo Ota pointed out that when Yakult’s battery of41-year-old Masanori Ishikawa and 36-year-old Motohiro Shima pitched to 44-year-old Kosuke Fukudome, it probably represented the oldest possible battery vs batter trio in Japanese baseball this year. And since every oldest combination includes Fukudome, and interleague is now over, Kozo was right, since we can no longer hope to see 40-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada and 39-year-old Hiroaki Takaya take on Fukudome.
By virtue of their tie, the Swallows are now 3-1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers and two games back of the Giants.
Carp 4, Tigers 3
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Shogo Sakakura’s two-run two-out fifth-inning double capped a four-run Carp comeback against Hanshin. Jerry Sands’ two-run third-inning home run, his 14th, had made it 3-0 against Masato Morishita (5-4), who worked six innings to earn the win.