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Takeshi Yamasaki to part ways with Rakuten Eagles

by on Oct.09, 2011 @ 3:05 pm, under NPB

According to Nikkan Sports, the Rakuten Eagles don't plan on signing Takeshi Yamasaki (42) to a contract extension after the end of the season.  The report mentions that the two sides discussed his future and Yamasaki wants to go to another club that will give him more playing time.

When team rep Jun Yoneda was approached for comment, he said, "We have spoken to him.  Regarding the result of those talks, we'll be making a formal announcement soon."

UPDATE @ 10:27pm - Yamasaki spoke to reporters after today's game and said that he was offered a job as a coach but declined because he wanted to continue playing.

"I tried to put out the fire in my gut to continue playing, but it wouldn't go out," said Yamasaki.  "There's a risk [in continuing my career].  I'll do what I need to do in order to satisfy my needs."

Yamasaki will play in Monday's game against the Chiba Lotte, but that will be his last game with the team.

UPDATE 10/10 @ 6:52am - Sports Hochi is carrying the comments that seem to have been made after his press conference on Sunday.  The translation is below:

How did this decision come about?

The team told me I had a great run and that they'd like to show me off in style if I'd retire.  But when I thought back to when I first came to Rakuten, I felt like continuing on one more time.  There's nothing fake about that feeling.

Your thoughts on Sendai.

At first I didn't think I'd be able to play baseball in Tohoku, but I made a lot of friends over here.  Some cried and others felt even more regret at the decision that me.  I'm really sad I have to go.

You didn't have any second thoughts?

In the middle of fighting for a spot in the Climax Series, I went 1-for-39.  This is not something a clean-up batter should do.  I felt I needed to take responsibility, somehow.  I really want to make everyone happy by winning, but this result lies heavy inside of me.  This is the only way for me to apologize...

Any uncertainties?

I just need to do what I can and if I can't do, that it's something I decided.  I can responsibility of my own actions.  Even if it means taking risks, I don't want to retire.

What do you plan on doing now?

When I left Chunichi and Orix, I felt the best way to pay back my dues was to play well [at my next stop].  I'm a cry-baby, so I cried during the press conference (laughs).  The only thing I think about now are the fans.  My final dream is to put on a uniform and play a game against my former Rakuten teammates.

UPDATE 10/10 @ 7:19am - Sponichi has another, slightly different, set of comments:

What do you remember most about Rakuten?

After playing for Chunichi and Orix, I thought I'd never play baseball again.  That I'd never swing another bat.  When I came to the Eagles, I realized how much fun it can be to play baseball.  It was great that I was able to go back to playing the game like when I was in elementary school.

What are you thoughts on leaving Rakuten?

Honestly, I knew it was going to happen at some point.  I just didn't think it would happen like this.

Have you discussed this with your family?

They won't say anything with regards to something I've decided.  Wonder how I'll break the news.  I was thinking about quitting.  But my kid came clinching onto my crying and he got sick and had a fever.  I can't quit in that [kind of situation].

Do you think you might return to the Eagles at some point as a coach?

I didn't really like baseball all that much, but coming to Tohoku helped change that.  When I came to the Eagles, it made me not want to quit so soon.  If it's in the cards, if there's a chance, I'd like to return.  Not while I'm still kind of mischievous, but once things settle down a little more.