Sanspo reported on Friday morning that the Yakult Swallows were getting on board to name Ichi-gun hitting coach Mitsuru Manaka their next manager. They also mentioned that a decision could be made some time as early as next week. Team president and acting owner Tsuyoshi Kinugasa told reporters he had "nothing to say at this time. No comment."
Junji Ogawa has managed the Swallows since he took over as interim manager partway through the 2010 season. The team had its best year under Ogawa in 2011 when it finished in second place with a 70-59-15 record. They dropped to third place in 2012 (68-65-11) and last place in 2013 (57-83-4). They are again in last place this year with a 53-70-2 record. In speaking to reporters, Ogawa said, "I feel responsible for what has happened. I can only accept what the organization has planned."
A Kyodo News report later in the evening confirmed that Manaka was a "strong candidate."