Vargas solid in farm debut

Cesar Vargas a 29-year-old career minor league pitcher who had a cup of coffee for the San Diego Padres in 2016, signed with the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes on Sunday and struck out seven in 3-2/3 scoreless innings on Monday in a Western League game against the Hanshin Tigers, Daily Sports reports.

The right-hander, who had been in Japan with the Ibaraki Astro Planets in the BC Challenge League, pitched for Mexico in the Tokyo Olympics, striking out two of the four batters he faced, including Yakult Swallows slugger Munetaka Murakami.

He’s the second Ibaraki player to sign a standard NPB contract this season, after former Oriole outfielder Dariel Alvarez, who is now starting for the SoftBank Hawks.

Live chat with former NPB star Leon Lee

Monday, Aug. 30, 11 am Japan; Sunday, Aug. 29, 7 pm Pacific Daylight Time.

Lee, who played 1,255 games over 10 years in Japan from 1978 to 1987 for the Lotte Orions, the Taiyo Whales, and Yakult Swallows. In addition to his accomplishments, Lee is a keen observer with a knack for explaining complicated things simply. 

Bring your questions and enjoy.

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Lions suspend rookie Sasaki

The Seibu Lions said Wednesday they have suspended rookie pitcher Ken Sasaki, their second pick in the 2020 amateur draft for one month after learning he had dined out with people he doesn’t live with two times between July and August, Sports Hochi reported.

This violates the team’s coronavirus safety protocols. Sasaki neglected to include a prolonged encounter with a woman who does not live in his same household in the report he submitted to the team, although he informed the team on Monday.

Sasaki apologized for his negligence.

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