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[6/19/2013] Nippon Ham Fighters News and Notes

by on Jun.19, 2013 @ 11:50 pm, under NPB

Hideki Kuriyama pulled 1st round draft pick Shohei Otani after four innings on Tuesday night because he did not want the youngster to record a win in a game where he was not especially good.

"I wanted him to get a victory, but not like that.  Otani the player did a good job.  I am being a little hard on Otani the pitcher," said Kuriyama to reporters after the game.

Sports Hochi offers a slightly different quote from Kuriyama: "Otani the player did a good job, but I was a little hard on Otani the pitcher.  It was a demonic to pull him.  But I placed the team's victory ahead of him."

Source: Sanspo 6/19/2013Sports Hochi 6/19/2013

Otani could join the starting rotation as a five or six starter.

Source: Sanspo 6/19/2013

Otani is apparently fairly popular in Hiroshima -- all Otani merchandise sold out at Mazda Stadium and media presence was much larger than other road games (about eighty members of the media covered the Fighters, which is about twice normal, and eight TV cameras were spotted at the start of pre-game practices).

Source: Sanspo 6/19/2013

Sports Hochi asked thirty people in the Fighters' organization to select which position they felt Otani would ultimately end up playing regularly. Eighteen, including Sho Nakata and Masaru Takeda, selected pitcher; two, Dai-Kang Yoh and Hirotoshi Masui, picked position player; and ten, including Takumi Oshima, chose both.

Source: Sports Hochi 6/19/2013

Otani became the fifth player in NPB history (two-league format), first since Takao Kajimoto in 1963 (batted third), to start a game as a pitcher while hitting in the middle of the order (between three and five).

He also joined:

  • Junzo Sekine (1950) as the only two players to start a game as a pitcher and bat in the middle of the order (between three and five) in the same game in their rookie seasons.
  • Osamu Takechi (1950) as the only two players to start a game, bat in the middle of the order (between three and five), and collect at least one hit and one RBI, all in the same game.

Source: Sponichi 6/16/2013

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Ryo Sakakibara's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl weighing 2,968 grams, on Monday.

Source: Sanspo 6/19/2013

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The Weather Girls are scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on the 25th (vs Softbank at Tokyo Dome).

Source: official announcementNikkan Sports 6/19/2013