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Softbank Hawks: Shinichi Kato offered a Ni-gun pitching coach job

by on Oct.21, 2010 @ 3:32 pm, under NPB

It seems the Softbank Hawks offered Shinichi Kato a Ni-gun pitching coach job for the 2011 season.  The Hawks would like Kato to help Kazumi Saito get back into pitching form and help the team develop "the next" Kazumi Saito.

As a player, Kato had a good start to his career in 1984, but suffered right shoulder problems that kept him out of action the entire 1990 season.  After that, Kato struggled with a number of injuries (various injuries in 1992 and 1993, and more right shoulder problems in 1995) and was released by Daiei after the 1995 season.

Kato kept a positive mindset, signed with Hiroshima, and managed to pitch well enough in his new digs to win a Comeback Player Award.  Kato became a free agent after the 1998 season and signed on with the Orix Buffaloes where he had three fairly decent years.  In 2002, he signed with Kintetsu and managed to play three more seasons while working through right shoulder injuries.

It's this battle with injuries over his career that the Hawks feel might make Kato the perfect coach to help Saito get back on track.