Tomoaki Kanemoto held a press conference today after meeting with the Hanshin Tigers for the third time this off-season. His message to the media: he planned on sticking around with the Tigers.
What is your reason for staying?
They gave me the strong impression that they really needed me no matter what. Being able to play in a situation like this is very fulfilling for me.
Was your injury (right shoulder) also a reason for staying?
Not really. But it was a borderline career-ending injury, and despite that, they have high expectations for me and wanted me back for next year. That makes me feel grateful.
How is your shoulder feeling?
I think things started looking better over the last 2-3 days. I feel like I'm getting a better feel for things.
What are your thoughts on your streak coming to an end?
I feel that I have gotten old and perhaps pushed myself too much. I would still like to try and prepare myself to play a full 144-game season. I want to get back to playing with excitement, just like back when I used to play for the Carp.
What are you goals for next season?
I have nothing to losing and nothing to protect. I'm looking forward to re-starting from scratch.
A Jiji Press report mentions that Kanemoto agreed to a 1-year deal worth 350M yen (down 100M yen) plus incentives.
UPDATE (11/17 @ 2:04am) - Sanspo posted a lengthier version of his comments:
This will be your 9th year with the Tigers. Any thoughts?
My option this time around isn't... This option isn't quite the same as the other players. Like I said before, they're giving me a chance to play baseball here again next season, even though I'm injured they still have high expectations for me, that they're going to let me play, that's really the biggest thing and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
What's the status on your injury?
With the season over, I honestly feel... Immediately after the Climax Series ended, my injury was at its worst since I couldn't do anything, but over the last 2-3 days, I'm starting to see a ray of light. I'm slowly beginning to feel like I can get over this. All that's left now is rehab. I need to listen to the trainers and not go against their word and push myself too hard. I just need to listen to their advice.
If that light pointing to something physical and mental?
It's physical, it's about the shoulder. I'm just really happy about the condition of my shoulder right now. If my shoulder if feeling good, then I'm also in a good mood and I have hope. And when it's not feeling good, I get a little depressed and dark. And then I get anxious and start making fun of Arai.
What are your thoughts on the batting order?
When I was batting fourth, I never really thought I had to have that kind of mindset, that kind of pride to be a clean-up hitter. But now as I look back, I see that it did require a certain amount of pride to bat fourth. Regarding next year, I don't really care where I bat. So it isn't like I have to bat fourth. I don't have any requests. They can bat me where they like, as they did this year by batting me 7th and 6th. Really, anywhere they want. They should just take advantage of it.
What do you think about Arai batting fourth?
I don't know about him batting fourth. That's one thing that would make me feel regret.
What did you think about Hoshino's talking about returning to Koshien [to play the Tigers]?
Of course I'm looking forward to playing against him.
Any ambitions for your 20th season?
This really isn't about my 20th season, especially because of the way things worked out this year. I have nothing to lose and nothing to protect. I'll rebuild myself from scratch, I think that's something I'm looking forward.
Do you think the fans were a little irritated?
No, no. I think it's best to decide these things quickly and that's why I asked to hold this press conference this early. I guess I should have cried like Arai, but I can't really cry fake tears. I'm sorry (while laughing).
So now your 2011 season begins?
I'm not really at that point yet. Although playing a full year is my number 1 priority.
<press conference ends>
Should I cry? (while laughing)