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Keiichi Yabu: I haven’t retired yet

by on Dec.16, 2010 @ 11:30 am, under NPB

1:50pm JST

Yabu told reporters that he'd like to see his old teammates, Shinobu Fukuhara and Yuya Ando, add pitching into their 40s as a goal.

12:32pm JST

Even thought it appears as though Yabu will be taking the coaching job, he plans on continuing to pitch on the side just to see how he can keep touching 140km/h.

Said Yabu, "Just out of my own curiosity, I want to see how long I can keep throwing in the 140km/h range.  Choji Murata throws close to 140km/h at 61, so I'd like to see if I can also do that with some training.  I think I could also probably keep pitching until I'm 55."

12/17/2010 12:23am JST

Yabu's meeting with the Tigers apparently lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes.  Yabu told reporters after the meeting that they touched on a number of issues and that he was offered a pitching a coach job.  And while it seems he never mentioned what his decision was, he did say that his mind was made up.

12/16/2010 7:29pm JST

Yabu and the Tigers met at a hotel earlier today and according to Sponichi, the two sides are very close to coming to  deal that will make Yabu a Ni-gun pitching coach.  An announcement could be made within the next couple of days.

4:04pm JST

Keiichi Yabu arrived at Kansai Airport yesterday from Seattle amidst rumors that he'll be taking a coaching job with the Hanshin Tigers.  But to the surprise of reporters, Yabu said that he still hasn't retired and that until he signs a contract for a coaching job he's still open to continuing his pitching career (he can still top out at about 144km/h).  Yabu also mentioned the concept of pitch limits in order to protect arms and shoulders; individually designed training programs; and the Hawaiian Winter Leagues for players that need more playing time.

Club president Nobuo Minami told reporters yesterday that he would be involved in the negotiations.  Minami also said he realized how difficult it was for players to retire, but that he hoped Yabu would be able to make a clean break.

(UPDATED @ 4:04pm JST with more information.)