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Japanese MLB Players News and Notes: Matsui, Igawa, Iwamura, and Matsuzaka

by on Nov.13, 2009 @ 3:01 pm, under MLB

I usually don't make too many posts about Japanese players in the MLB because there's usually a lot of information readily available in the US press, but I thought I'd make a few exceptions.  Over the course of the off-season, I'll likely make a couple of these posts to help provide some insight on what's being said in the Japanese press.

Regarding Hideki Matsui:

Sponichi is running a number of articles on Matsui right now.  One of them states that he's willing to sign a 1-year deal.  He also appears reserved to the label of "DH Only" this off-season and will likely try to lose the moniker during the 2010 season by playing some games in the field.

Essentially, his course of action may be to sign a 1-year deal with any team that'll take him, try to play some games in the outfield in 2010, and then get onto the FA market the following season as an outfielder / DH.

Another Sponichi article mentions an article Arn Tellem wrote for the Huffington Post that calls Matsui an "ageless talent."

In other news...

...A Japanese team apparently contacted the Yankees about Kei Igawa recently.  Which team, Sponichi doesn't mention, but the Yankees approached Igawa and asked him what he wanted to do.  According to the article, he told the Yankees he wasn't interested and wanted to continue pitching for them.  I guess pitching in the minor leagues is better than a return to Japan for Igawa at this point.

...Akinoru Iwamura and Kazuo Matsui made an appearance at an event for the Nike Flagship Store Harajuku on Thursday.  The two were schedule to attend the event together but almost missed out on each other when Matsui arrived late.

Incidentally, it seems Daisuke Matsuzaka will be attending the store's grand opening event on 11/14.  If I have some free time tomorrow morning, I'll see if I can swing by and take some pictures.  No doubt it'll attract a large crowd.

...Iwamura's goal for next season: an OBP in the 400s.

...Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to Japan on Thursday for a brief stay (about 3 weeks).  He'll be spending most of his time in Japan doing work for his sponsors (like making an appearance at the Nike store) and taking it easy.  When he returns to the States in December, he plans on starting up his training program.