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[11/28/2014] Japan Baseball Hall of Fame 2015 Candidates

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 10:17 pm, under NPB
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2015 Ballot - Players Division

  Name JPN Name ENG
  石毛 宏典 Ishige, Hiromichi
  伊東 勤 Ito, Tsutomu
  岡田 彰布 Okada, Akinobu
  郭 源治 Kaku, Genji
  川相 昌弘 Kawai, Masahiro
  清原 和博 Kiyohara, Kazuhiro
  桑田 真澄 Kuwata, Masumi
  斎藤 雅樹 Saito, Masaki
  佐々岡 真司 Sasaoka, Shinji
  佐藤 義則 Sato, Yoshinori
  野村 謙二郎 Nomura, Kenjiro
  原 辰徳 Hara, Tatsunori
  古田 敦也 Furuta, Atsuya
  松永 浩美 Matsunaga, Hiromi
* 赤星 憲広 Akahoshi, Norihiro
* 礒部 公一 Isobe, Koichi
* 江藤 智 Eto, Akira
* 緒方 孝市 Ogata, Koichi
* 小宮山 悟 Komiyama, Satoru
* 清水 崇行 Shimizu, Takayuki
* 立浪 和義 Tatsunami, Kazuyoshi
* 仁志 敏久 Nishi, Toshihisa
* T. ローズ Rhodes, Tuffy

===

2015 Ballot - Expert Division

  Name JPN Name ENG
  足立 光宏 Adachi, Mitsuhiro
  荒川 博 Arakawa, Hiroshi
  榎本 喜八 Enomoto, Kihachi
  大沢 啓二 Osawa, Keiji
  加藤 英司 Kato, Hideji
  権藤 博 Gondo, Hiroshi
  田淵 幸一 Tabuchi, Koichi
  土橋 正幸 Dobashi, Masayuki
  長池 徳士 Nagaike, Atsushi
  ランディ・バース Bass, Randy
  平松 政次 Hiramatsu, Masaji
  ブーマー・ウェルズ Wells, Greg "Boomer"
  藤田 平 Fujita, Taira
  村上 雅則 Murakami, Masanori
* 伊原 春樹 Ihara, Haruki
* 大島 康徳 Oshima, Yasunori
* 篠塚 和典 Shinozuka, Kazunori
* 星野 仙一 Hoshino, Senichi
* 水谷 実雄 Mizutani, Jitsuo

===

* new candidates

===

Source: official announcement

[11/28/2014] Japan will be one of twelve teams competing in Premier 12

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 9:58 pm, under International, NPB, Samurai Japan

The top twelve nations in the 2014 WBSC World Baseball Rankings will have spots at the first Premier 12 in 2015. Japan secured the top spot with a first place finish in the rankings.

The Premier 12 logo and schedule will be released at a later date.

Source: official announcement

Top Twelve Nations (Full list)

Rank Member Federation Total Points Continent
1 Japan 785.18 Asia
2 USA 766.02 Americas
3 Cuba 662.98 Americas
4 Chinese Taipei 605.48 Asia
5 Netherlands 433.50 Europe
6 Dominican Republic 379.18 Americas
7 Canada 353.52 Americas
8 South Korea 340.90 Asia
9 Puerto Rico 291.50 Americas
10 Venezuela 269.00 Americas
11 Italy 196.18 Europe
12 Mexico 136.78 Americas

===

NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki told reporters on the 21st that they received a request from the MLB about holding an opening day series in Japan in 2016. The idea was proposed during a meeting with MLB's Rob Manfred. Games against Samurai Japan are also being planned.

Source: Sponichi 11/21/2014, Sponichi 11/22/2014

Nippon TV executive Tsukasa Imamura was named president of the newly formed NPB Enterprise during a meeting on the 21st. Imamura will begin serving as president on January 1, 2015. His term will end in 2017.

The NPB confirmed that the fiscal year 2013 (October 2013 to September 2014) finished in the black (960 million yen) for the third consecutive year.

Source: Daily Sports 11/21/2014

[11/27/2014] Free Agents: Takashi Toritani, Chihiro Kaneko

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 3:45 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • Toritani is letting his agent handle everything in the United States while he focuses on his training and conditioning. He wants to do what he can to make sure he is ready to play a full MLB season. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Orix Buffaloes want Kaneko to focus on his right elbow for the time being. Negotiations will likely be put on hold for the time being (until he is ready). Source: Sponichi 11/26/2014
  • The Hanshin Tigers are interested in Kaneko, but are not ready to make an offer because they feel they still need more information. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/26/2014, Sports Hochi 11/26/2014, Daily Sports 11/26/2014 ... The Tigers want to give Kaneko space as he works out a plan for his right elbow. They are also curious to see how things turn out. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014 ... The Tigers are planning to hold another meeting on Kaneko early next week. They will not be able to put an offer together until they know what kind of condition Kaneko is in after he goes under the knife, assuming he goes through with the procedure. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014 ... Kaneko's agent reached out to the Tigers to assure them that there should be more than enough time for Kaneko to have surgery, go through rehab, and be ready for opening day next year. Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014
  • Yokohama Bay Stars general manager Shigeru Takada told reporters he found out about Kaneko's elbow before he made the announcement. He does not appear to be too concerned about the possibility of surgery. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014 ... Takada on posting players: "We are not fully against it. As an organization, it isn't a definitive no." Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014
  • Softbank Hawks' chairman Sadaharu Oh indicated on Tuesday that the Hawks will pass on Kaneko if he is hoping to be posted after one year (or wants that option). Source: Sports Hochi 11/26/2014

===

The Yakult Swallows officially signed Yoshihisa Naruse (29) to a three-year deal worth an estimated 600 million yen on Tuesday. He was assigned the number seventeen. The Swallows will introduce him during a press conference on December 9. Yakult is still looking for a pitcher on the overseas market. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/25/2014

[11/27/2014] Rumors: Kam Mickolio, Wily Mo Pena, Yunielkis Gourriel

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 3:39 am, under NPB
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The Rakuten Eagles are interested in Kam Mickolio (30). They may be moving away from re-signing Brian Falkenborg (36). Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014

The Seibu Lions have been checking the overseas market for a third baseman. They have so far narrowed their list down to five or six candidates. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014

The Orix Buffaloes will most likely part ways with Wily Mo Pena (32). There was reportedly over a 100 million yen difference between what Orix was offering and what Pena wanted. The slugger was also said to be looking for a multi-year deal. The Rakuten Eagles are interested in Pena. The Buffaloes are looking into Tony Blanco (34) as a possible replacement. They could offer him a two-year deal worth about 400 million yen. Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014, Sports Hochi 11/27/2014

The Hanshin Tigers' quartet of foreign players, Randy Messenger (33), Seung-Hwan Oh (32), Matt Murton (33), and Mauro Gomez (30), should all be signed to contracts for the 2015 season by some time around December 10. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars general manager Shigeru Takada spoke to reporters on Wednesday and said that he was informed negotiations with Cuban players will begin after the 9th. Yokohama will most likely prepare about 300 million yen for Yulieski Gourriel (30). Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014

The Bay Stars are looking into Gourriel's brother, Yunielkis Gourriel (22). Source: Sports Hochi 11/27/2014

Yomiuri's Tomoyuki Sugano agreed to a forty-million yen raise on Wednesday. His salary for the 2015 season will be an estimated 110 million yen. He joined Yoshinobu Takahashi, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Micheal Nakamura as the only players in NPB history to reach 100 million yen in their third year. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014

Kentaro Nishimura signed a two-year contract with the Giants on Wednesday. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014

The Softbank Hawks re-signed Shoji Yoshimoto (21) to an Ikusei contract. His uniform number will change from 33 to 121. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014

[11/27/2014] Hiroshima Carp, Yakult Swallows

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 3:34 am, under NPB
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Hiroshima Carp

  • Kenta Kurihara had surgery on his right elbow on the 14th. He was discharged from the hospital on the 20th. Stitches will be removed on the 28th. This was the third time he had surgery on his right elbow. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • The Swallows are planning to test different kinds of mound builds during spring camp in Urasoe next year. The turf and mound at Jingu Stadium will be completely re-done during the off-season. Pitchers will have a chance to test different types of mounds and offer opinions on what should be used at Jingu Stadium. Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014

[11/27/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Softbank Hawks, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 3:33 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • New Ikusei signing Tomohiro Umetsu was assigned the number 139. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014
  • The Eagles are thinking about building a museum/shop and gate near kobo Stadium. There are also plans to build a scoreboard near the gate. Total construction could cost about 500 million yen. Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • 1st round draft pick Yuki Matsumoto had problems with his right elbow this summer. He is not playing catch at the moment and could go require surgery depending on the results of an upcoming medical examination. The Hawks are not planning to rush Matsumoto. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014
  • The Hawks announced that Shuhei Fukuda's uniform number will change from 31 to 37. Source: official announcement

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • When school kids asked Shohei Otani if he wanted to play with the Majors, he replied, "I have dreamed about playing in the Majors. I'll grow in Japan and when I get to that point, I'll probably want to play at a higher level. That's when I want to go." Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014

[11/27/2014] Yokohama senryokugai Shugo Fujii to retire

by on Nov.27, 2014 @ 10:44 pm, under NPB
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The media learned on Wednesday that Yokohama senryokugai Shugo Fujii (37) is planning to retire. He wanted to continue playing next season, but failed to attract interest after attending both twelve-team tryout sessions earlier this month.

"I believed in the possibility and kept going, but I need to accept the reality. I'd like to move on," said Fujii. He also said, "I feel I can still play, but I have no offers. I am automatically retiring."

Fujii is expected to make an official announcement within the next few days.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014, Sponichi 11/27/2014

[11/27/2014] 2014 Georgia Spirit Award: Shohei Otani (HAM)

by on Nov.27, 2014 @ 6:01 pm, under NPB
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Shohei Otani won the 2014 Georgia Spirit Award for his start against the Rakuten Eagles on April 20.

Otani took the mound against the Rakuten Eagles at kobo Stadium on April 20.  With a 1-0 lead and runners on first and second and two out in the 6th, he faced clean-up hitter Andruw Jones.  Jones fouled off a couple of fastballs over 150km/h and stopped himself from swinging at a 2-2, 132km/h breaking pitch, but he could not catch up to the next pitch and struck out swinging on a 154km/h fastball.   Georgia video - Box score

Special awards were also given to Masahiro Yamamoto and Atsunori Inaba.

Yamamoto's start against the Hanshin Tigers on September 5 - Yamamoto got the start against the Tigers on September 5. He tossed five shutout innings while allowing five hits and got the win. At forty-nine years and twenty-five days, he broke Shinji Hamazaki's 1950 record for oldest pitcher to win a game. He also set a number of other records, like oldest player to appear in a game, oldest player to pitch in  game, oldest pitcher to start a game, and oldest pitcher to strike a hitter out. Georgia video - Box score

Inaba's game against the Seibu Lions on September 30 - The Nippon Ham Fighters were down 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th against the Seibu Lions. Sho Nakata hit a one-out single to left. Yuji Iiyama followed with a sac hit. With a runner on second and two out, Inaba stepped in to pinch-hit for Shogo Akada. Seibu's Tatsushi Masuda got ahead in the count with a quick first strike. On the next pitch, Inaba took a quick cut and drilled the ball over the fence in right for a two-run blast. The Fighters hung on and won the game, 4-3. Georgia video - Box score