Kenshin Kawakami officially signed a one-year deal worth 30M yen, plus incentives, with the Chunichi Dragons today; he was also assigned the number eleven.
Nikkan Sports has posted comments from the press conference:
Your thoughts on returning after being away for three years...
I was away from the Dragons for three seasons. I return full of energy, similar to the way I felt when I was a rookie. I want to meet the rest of the players and staff. I just want to do my best to pitch like I used, for the team and for the fans.
Your experiences in America...
There were good things and bad things. I had a difficult time with the language, but it was a great experience. Communication is important in both Japan and America.
What are your reasons for returning to Chunichi?
I could not forget about my teammates and Nagoya. Players like [Masahiro] Yamamoto and [Hirokazu] Ibata told me they wanted me to join the team again and that was a deciding factor.
Your thoughts on the number 11...
I still has not sunk it. It feels a little strange because other players were wearing it while I was in America. I actually feel a pressured and want to do my best because I do not want to tarnish number.
You are returning after being away for three years...
I have not stood on the field or thrown a ball yet so it still feels a little strange. I want to hurry up and meet the players and staff members.
You spent three years in the US...
There were good things and bad things. I had a tough time with the language, but it was good for [for me] for baseball. I think communication is important in Japan and the US.
What is your impression of Chunichi right now?
I do not know the strengths of the individual players. But it seems they run a tight ship. I think the manager likes to play a tight game of baseball with a focus on defense.
How are you feeling?
I usually have some aches and pains at this time of year, or some uncertainties before the start of camp, but I do not have that this year.
On the start of spring camp...
I have something to show the staff, coaches, and manager. I want to show them I can provide them with some security.