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Kenji Johjima News and Notes from 10/22/2009 (UPDATED)

by on Oct.22, 2009 @ 9:33 am, under NPB

...Via Sanspo, Akinobu Okada wants Kenji Johjima.

"Of course I'd want him.  But the situation.  I would think everyone wants him.  But going with just 1 catcher would be tough to do," said Okada.

But unfortunately, money is the problem.

"We'd have to get rid of Rhodes and Cabrera in order to round up enough money [to sign Johjima]," said a club rep.


...The Hawks are still undecided on Johjima.

"We need to make a decision soon.  We've been discussing this but we still aren't in a place where we can make a decision," said COO Takeuchi.

"A decision won't be easy. We'll need to think about the structure of the entire team," said team rep Tsunoda.

...A brief interview with Sadaharu Oh posted by Sanspo:

On Johjima leaving the Mariners...

He must have had a really good reason to return to the Japan in the middle of a 3-year deal, but regardless, his return is good for baseball in Japan.  He's a player with character and poise.

He's a student of yours...

I know his story from his start with the team.  I even visited his school for his team entrance application.  So in that sense, I do have some memories of him.

The club still hasn't said anything about what they might do...

The whole club needs to think about what to do.  The COO Takeuchi and the manager Akiyama have had conversations on it, but we're not in a place where we can make a decision right away.

Your personal opinion...

I think we need his presence.  He has baseball skills and has the ability to pull a team together.  There's something special about him.  He was popular here.  I think it would be great if he can return to Fukuoka wearing a Hawks' uniform.

...When a club rep was asked if there might be a money problem signing Johjima, the reply was: "I can't say that there wouldn't be."


...The Tigers are also really high on Johjima.

"He'd be a big help if he joined our team.  It might sound a bit extreme, but I think he's the type of player that can bring a team a Championship.  No matter what...  Whatever it takes, I'd love for him to come here," said Akinobu Mayumi.

...Mayumi has said that he'd make time to meet Johjima if it would help get him on the team.

=== Updated 10/22/2009 @ 2:00pm JST

...A Q&A with Johjima posted by Sponichi:

Your reasons for leaving...

There were a lot of things, and not just things that happened this season.  But I did also feel as if now were the best time to decide.  I thought if I let this opportunity go by...

On your 4 years with the Mariners...

I was lucky to be surrounded by great staff.  I think I got a lot stronger playing alongside Ichiro.  Other than my family, I also confided with Ichiro on this decision.  He wasn't just a teammate, but also someone who understood me, similar to a coach, even an older brother.  He has great presence and poise.  He's my role model.

Your feelings about the Fukuoka fans...

My feelings remain the same.  But my wishes alone won't necessarily get bring me to where I want to go.

What kind of team would you like to join?

I felt I didn't get enough playing time over the last 2 years.  I want to go to whatever will let me go out and play like crazy.