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1/7/2013: Yu Darvish, Koji Uehara, Bobby Valentine

by on Jan.08, 2013 @ 2:50 am, under MLB
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Sponichi has posted additional details on the Yu Darvish museum that is scheduled to open later this year in November.

  • The museum will be located near the Kitano Ijinkan in Kobe.
  • Kobe was selected as the location because Darvish's father, Farsa, has a strong connection with the community.
  • The museum will be in a five-story high building modeled after western-style buildings from the Meiji period.
  • The museum will be complete by August, but will likely open on either November 1 or November 11 (based on his uniform number).
  • Trophies and various other memorabilia will be on display on the third floor.  Darvish will reportedly have final say over what gets displayed.
  • The top floor will be an open space for various kinds of events that can fit about forty people.
  • Admission could end up being free for kids in elementary school or younger.
  • The other floors may be used as gallery spaces to introduce Persian culture.

Source: Sponichi 1/6/2013

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Koji Uehara shaved his facial hair and got a haircut.  Source: Nikkan Sports 1/6/2013, Blog Post 12/31/2012, Blog Post 1/4/2013

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Bobby Valentine will be co-hosting a radio show.  From SI.com's Richard Deitsch:

The NBC Sports Group and Dial Global will formally announce Monday that Valentine has joined the NBC Sports Radio lineup as a Major League Baseball contributor. He will call in weekly to NBC Sports affiliated stations over the next two months before co-hosting a daily sports-talk show on NBC Sports Radio starting in April. (His co-host has been picked but NBC says they will not announce the name until March.) "I think in my years here on earth, I have let people know I have an opinion about pretty much everything," Valentine told SI.com. "I think I will remain true to that."

... How opinionated will Valentine be about players and coaches he either managed or coached against? "I don't know that you have to be negatively biased to inform people of what is going on, or to keep them listening," Valentine said. "I think you have to be true. If I have a fault, it's that I tell the truth. You can't dictate to the customer what they want and I think a good host feels his audience and understands what they want and need and tries to provide it."

... "I think the only time I had a problem with someone on the other side of the microphone is when they crossed over the personal line or they were totally incorrect in whatever they were representing," Valentine said of sports-talk radio spats. "I am going to try and not get personal. And I'm also going to try to be correct as often as possible."

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12/8/2011: Takashi Saito, Koji Uehara, Bobby Valentine

by on Dec.08, 2011 @ 3:00 pm, under MLB
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Nikkan Sports is reporting that about eight MLB teams are interested in Takashi SaitoSponichi figures about six teams.

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Bobby Valentine hates the Yankees.  He also told reporters on Wednesday that he did not want Daisuke Matsuzaka to worry about any deadlines and to just focus on getting healthy.  Valentine added that after he accept the managerial job with the Boston Red Sox, he tried calling Matsuzaka (and about four other players) but could not get through and had to e-mail him instead.

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MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko tweets that the Baltimore Orioles are trying to reacquire Koji Uehara.

#orioles are talking to #rangers about reacquiring Koji Uehara. Don't think it would take much these days.

Via Sponichi: MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli goes into a bit more.  A snip:

I wrote earlier this season that Uehara, who was traded to Texas at the July 31 deadline, had expressed a desire to come back to the Orioles, where he still owns a home. And O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has made it no secret that the club is trying to upgrade their pitching staff any way they can, with trades being the most likely route.

And MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan mentions that a number of teams, including the Boston Red Sox, are interested in Uehara.

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Nikkan Sports and Sponichi are getting excited over the possibility of seeing Munenori Kawasaki batting lead-off and Ichiro Suzuki batting third.

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Sponichi notes that the Arizona Diamondbacks may have offered Hiroki Kuroda a one-year deal.

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Tsuyoshi Wada told reporters on Tuesday that he plans on working out in Japan this winter instead of heading overseas.

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Boston Red Sox reach agreement with Bobby Valentine

by on Nov.30, 2011 @ 10:27 am, under MLB
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The Boston Red Sox have apparently reached an agreement with Bobby Valentine.  A snip from an MLB.com report:

Multiple news outlets reported Tuesday that the Red Sox have reached a verbal agreement with Bobby Valentine to be their next manager. Valentine, currently working as a broadcaster for ESPN, has not managed in the Major Leagues since the 2002 season.

The Red Sox have not confirmed the reports.

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Bobby Valentine visits Sendai, hosts fan event in Tokyo

by on Nov.29, 2011 @ 5:23 pm, under MLB, NPB
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Bobby Valentine in Japan updates:

  • he visited a hospital he in Sendai on Monday.
  • the charity auction he took part in on Saturday raised 146,000 yen.  The money will be donated to Jidai-no Sozo Kobo.
  • at Majestic Presents Bobby's Voice Party, also on Monday:
    • when asked what he thought of Hisashi Iwakuma, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Yu Darvish, he said if he were manager, he would want all three.
    • regarding Darvish: "In terms of ability, he could be an ace on just about any MLB team.  The key for him will be whether or not he really wants to pitch in the Majors."
    • regarding Iwakuma: "As long as he is healthy, he has the ability."
    • regarding Wada: "Unlike Darvish, he might not be the kind of pitcher everyone makes a fuss over during a one-day tryout, but he knows how to get batters out."
    • and regarding Daisuke Matsuzaka: "There were times in recent years where it seems had had a hard time focusing. ... The most recent news I have is that his rehab is going well.  Since it is possible he felt pain in his arm for a number of years, he could end up being very good when he returns."

Sources:

ボビー ダルに太鼓判!メジャーで「先発の核になれる」

ボビー仙台市内の病院慰問 慈善オークションも開催

松坂復活!ボビーは確信している…

バレンタイン氏が日本人投手絶賛 Rソックス監督なら日本人ローテ

UPDATE @ 11:11pm - Valentine hosted Majestic Dream Coach with Bobby Valentine at Yokohama Stadium earlier today.

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11/19/2011: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tsuyoshi Nishioka

by on Nov.19, 2011 @ 11:43 am, under MLB
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Daisuke Matsuzaka played at catch at a distance of 27 meters on the 18th (threw the ball 50 times).  He also closed out his practices at Fort Myers and will now head to Boston in order to continue his training.  The hope right now is that he'll be ready to start tossing bullpen sessions in January.

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Hisashi Iwakuma returned to Sendai on Friday from Arizona and told reporters that he learned some new training methods and felt that it was a worthwhile trip.  He also spoke to his agent and was informed that the market was moving slowly.  Regarding his visit to Chase Field, Iwakuma said that he was impressed by the atmosphere.

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Joe Nathan thinks it's too early to give up on Tsuyoshi Nishioka.  A snip, from a Pioneer Press article (via Nikkan Sports):

Free-agent closer Joe Nathan, still undecided about whether he'll play in Minnesota or elsewhere next year, isn't ready to give up on Nishioka.

"I don't want to jump the gun on Nishi because I still think that's a huge adjustment for him," Nathan said.

...

"He's got to get settled in in this country before you can pass judgment on a guy," Nathan said. "Let him get his feet wet a little bit. Let him sink in and get used to being over here."

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A couple of Yu Darvish - New York Yankee related articles (via Sponichi).

From the Daily News' Mark Feinsand:

Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday that the Igawa disaster wouldn't stop the Yankees from signing another Japanese pitcher if that's the move they believe makes the most sense.

"Every person is different; every player is different," Steinbrenner said. "We're going to look at every single one. We're going to look at every single option, and we’re going to analyze it. It will be a go or no-go, but we look at each person as an individual."

...

Darvish, a 25-year-old considered to be one of the best pitchers available on the free-agent market this winter, will likely command a financial commitment similar to the one the Red Sox made to Matsuzaka, a significant risk to any team that takes that gamble.

From Newsdays' Ken Davidoff:

Yankees scouts generally like Darvish from what they've seen of him, but there is internal skepticism concerning Steinbrenner's willingness to try another significant Japanese investment.

Steinbrenner insisted that wasn't the case, yet he conceded that assessing an international player was trickier than pursuing a major-league free agent such as Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson.

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Former Lotte manager Bobby Valentine is a candidate to become the next manager of the Boston Red Sox.  The NY Times' Tyler Kepner mentions why it might make sense in his blog post, The Red Sox and Bobby Valentine: A Better Fit Than We Think?

6/4/2011: Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Yoshinori Tateyama

by on Jun.04, 2011 @ 2:11 pm, under MLB
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Games from the 3rd:

Seattle Mariners 7 - Tampa Bay Rays 0
Ichiro Suzuki started in right and batted first.  He went 0-for-4: ground out to second, walk (run scored), ground out to the pitcher, ground out to short, ground out to second.

Boston Red Sox 8 - Oakland A's 6
Hideki Matsui was the starting DH and batted fourth.  He went 0-for-5: RBI ground out to short (run scored), strikeout looking, line out to center, strikeout swinging, pop out to short.

Texas Rangers 11 - Cleveland Indians 2
Yoshinori Tateyama entered the game in the 8th, with the Rangers up 11-1, and gave up a run (solo homer to the first batter he faced) over an inning of work.  Final line: 1 IP, 4 BF, 21-13 NP-S, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR.

St Louis Cardinals 6 - Chicago Cubs 1
Kosuke Fukudome started in right and batted first.  He went 0-for-4: strikeout swinging, ground out to second, ground out to the pitcher, fly out to left.

Cincinnati Reds 2 - Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Hiroki Kuroda started the game and gave up 2 runs (both earned) over 6 innings of work and took the loss.  Kuroda is now 5-6 on the year.  Final line: 6 IP, 27 BF, 114-60 NP-S, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR.

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Pawtucket Red Sox 6 - Durham Bulls 3
Hideki Okajima entered the game in the 7th, with Pawtucket up 6-2 and a runner on first and no out.  Okajima allowed the inherited run to score on a wild pitch and a double, but did not allow any additional runs to score over 2 innings of work.  Final line: 2 IP, 8 BF, 19-14 NP-S, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR.

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Hideki Okajima apparently wants out of Boston.  Via WEEI:

"It was very disappointing," Okajima said through translator Jeff Cutler regarding being designated for assignment. "Having experienced that, right now I'm just working hard on myself to make sure I'm pitching well so I can put myself up for a trade at some point."

When asked if he wants to be traded, the 35-year-old said in English, "Yes."

"Being taken off the 40-man, to me, means the team no longer needs me," Okajima said through Cutler. "So I'm just looking to move on with my career at this point."

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Daisuke Matsuzaka will probably undergo surgery sometime next week.  From ESPN's Gordon Edes:

BOSTON--Daisuke Matsuzaka left Friday night without speaking to reporters, leaving Red Sox manager Terry Francona to make the announcement that the Japanese pitcher will have Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow, "probably next week," and that the procedure will be done by orthopedist Lewis Yocum in southern California.

From SI.com's Tom Verducci-

Matsuzaka, given a six-year deal, was the seventh starting pitcher to leave NPB for MLB between 1995-2008. All of them pitched worse or broke down after some initial success, typically after about three years of full-time starting. Hideo Nomo, the first starter in that wave, was 43-29 with a 3.34 ERA in his first three seasons, but 80-80 with a 4.66 ERA thereafter.

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Matsuzaka was 37-21 with a 4.00 ERA and one 200-inning season through his first three seasons, but since then is 12-9 with a 4.81 ERA.

The transition can be a grueling one. NPB pitchers often throw once per week with high pitch counts and rigorous throwing programs in a five-month season with a slightly smaller ball, then must adapt to pitching every fifth day for six months against lineups that play more of a power game. Boston is considered to be at the cutting edge of keeping pitchers healthy -- what's known in the industry as "prehabilitation" -- and yet not even the Red Sox could get their $103 million investment to the mound often enough. Matsuzaka will have given the Red Sox an average of little more than 100 innings per year over the life of the contract at a cost of about $17.2 million per year.

From HardballTalk Aaron Gleeman-

Between the posting fee to win his exclusive negotiations rights and the six-year contract Boston made a total investment of $103 million in Matsuzaka. What did they get for that money?

...

According to Fan Graphs’ player evaluation system that performance was worth about $44 million and Matsuzaka also had a 4.79 ERA in seven postseason starts, so let’s bump that up to around $50 million. There are probably also plenty of off-field factors involved in his overall value to the team, but strictly in terms of on-field performance for a six-year, $103 million investment the Red Sox received approximately $50 million worth of value in the form of one good season, two decent seasons, and two (and likely three) bad seasons.

And the media is bringing up the following three Japanese players that have had TJ surgery in the past: Choji Murata, Daisuke Araki, and Masumi Kuwata.

And Matsuzaka tweeted the following (1, 2):

Hello everyone.  An announcement was officially made by the [Red Sox] the other day.  It was decided that I will undergo TJ surgery on my right elbow.  I still don't know when it will happen, but it will be conducted by Dr. Lewis Yocum.  I wasn't able to post any tweets until the announcement was made official, but now that it's out, I hope to keep [everyone] a little more updated about my progress.  I'll try not to get too gloomy.

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Bobby Valentine will be helping the City of Stamford organize a fundraiser to help raise money for relief efforts in northern Japan.

Bobby Valentine's interest in helping the victims of the disaster is both professional and personal, having lived and managed the Chiba Motte Marines in Japan for almost seven years. " Japan needs all of the help we are able to provide," enthuses Valentine. "Everyone involved in this effort is committed to making sure that the money raised directly assists the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. It will take time for Japan to recover, and it will require both short-term emergency assistance and long-term aid. I am committed to a sustained effort to assist Japan's recovery effort."

(via Baseball Musings)

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4/16/2011: Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Koji Uehara

by on Apr.16, 2011 @ 3:37 pm, under MLB
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Games from the 15th:

KC Royals 6 - Seattle Mariners 5
Ichiro Suzuki started in right and batted first.  He went 2-for-5: double to right (run scored), ground out to the pitcher, fly out to left, RBI single to left, RBI ground out to second.  Ichiro also extended his consecutive multi-hit game at Kauffman Stadium to 10 games, breaking George Brett's previous record of 9.

Detroit Tigers 8 - Oakland A's 4
Hideki Matsui was the starting DH and batted fifth.  He went 0-for-4: GIDP, line out to short, strikeout swinging, pop out to second.

Cleveland Indians 8 - Baltimore Orioles 2
Koji Uehara entered the game in the 8th, with the Orioles down 8-1, and tossed a shutout inning in relief.  Final line: 1 IP, 3 BF, 5-3 NP-S, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR.

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Trenton Thunder 8 - Harrisburg Senators 1
Kei Igawa entered the game in the 7th, with Trenton up 8-1, and tossed 3 shutout innings in relief.  Final line: 3 IP, 10 BF, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR.

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Junichi Tazawa started a minor league exhibition game in Fort Myers on the 15th and tossed 2 shutout innings while allowing just 1 hit.

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Ryota Igarashi told reporters on the 15th that he surprisingly felt great despite pitching in both games of a double-header the day before.

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Bobby Valentine, with the help from Americares, has shipped US$525,000 (~44.6M yen) in medical supplies to northern Japan.  Valentine is also planning on holding a fundraiser on 6/18 in Stamford.  (via Nikkan Sports)

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3/18/2011: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Hideki Matsui, Kosuke Fukudome

by on Mar.18, 2011 @ 2:18 pm, under MLB
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From exhibition games on the 17th:

Detroit Tigers 4 - Minnesota Twins 3
Tsuyoshi Nishioka started at second and batted 2nd (replaced on defense in the 5th).  He went 1-for-3: line out to first, RBI single to right, ground out to second.  Nishioka extended his hitting streak to 7 games.

Oakland A's 6 - Chicago Cubs 5
Hideki Matsui was the starting DH and batted 5th (replaced by a pinch-runner in the 7th).  He went 2-for-3: single to right, fly out to left, single to left.

Kosuke Fukudome started in right and batted 8th (replaced on defense in the 7th).  He went 0-for-2: walk, fly out to right, ground out to third.

Atlanta Braves 7 - Washington Nationals 6
Kenshin Kawakami entered the game in the 6th, with the Braves up 4-0, and did not give up a run over 2 innings of work: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR.

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The Red Sox named their starting rotation on the 17th and it appears Daisuke Matsuzaka will be their number 5 pitcher.

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Ichiro Suzuki worked out for about 1.5 hours in the afternoon on the 17th.  During outdoor BP, he took 52 swings and hit 3 over the fence.  He also took 26 swings during indoor soft-toss.  Ichiro is scheduled to play on the 18th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It seems Ichiro also donated 100M yen to rescue and relief efforts.

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Jason Varitek helped out the four Japanese players on the Red Sox collect donations before the game on the 17th. ... Koji Uehara was shocked, disappointed, and embarrassed at how strong the Yomiuri Giants have been pushing to start the season on time.  Said Uehara, "What in the world are they thinking?  It's being talked about in the news over here as well.  There isn't enough energy over there right now and there are blackouts, right?  And their talk about playing night game is ridiculous. ... That's just foolish.  The Giants' popularity and baseball's popularity is probably going to take a hit." ... Bobby Valentine is trying to set up a relief fund to help rescue and relief efforts in Japan. ... Kurt Suzuki's sister once taught English in Soma, Fukushima for a year after she graduated from college.  It seems the friends she made back then were all safe. ... The Oakland A's have set up a website for people who make donations to relief efforts.

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3/12/2011: Hideki Matsui, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Hideki Okajima

by on Mar.12, 2011 @ 1:52 pm, under MLB
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From exhibition games on the 11th:

Oakland A's 9 - LA Dodgers 2
Hideki Matsui was the starting DH and batted 3rd.  He went 0-for-4: GIDP, ground out to third, fly out to third, foul out to third.

Minnesota Twins 3 - Boston Red Sox 2
Tsuyoshi Nishioka started at second and batted 2nd (replaced by a pinch-runner in the 5th).  He went 1-for-2: single to left, fly out to center, walk.

Hideki Okajima entered the game in the 6th, with Boston down 3-2, and tossed a shutout inning in relief: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR.

Texas Rangers 5 - Cincinnati Reds 5
Yoshinori Tateyama entered the game in the 9th, with the score tied at 3, and gave up a run over an inning of work: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR.

Atlanta Braves 6 - NY Yankees 2
Kenshin Kawakami entered the game in the 5th, with the Braves up 2-1, and did not allow a run over an inning of work: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR.

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Hisanori Takahashi was in the middle of talking to his family via Skype during one of the quakes.  Daisuke Matsuzaka found out that both his parents were fine. ... Takashi Saito learned through relatives that his family in Sendai were safe. ...  Kei Igawa was able to get in touch with his family via e-mail, but is still planning on returning to Japan if he can (he also received permission from the NY Yankees to leave). ... There was a 1-minute moment of silence before the Minnesota Twins - Boston Red Sox Exhibition game.  ... The NY Yankees said that they'll be donating US$100,000 to rescue and relief efforts; the Oakland A's will be collecting donations during a game against the Seattle Mariners on 4/3. ... Tsuyoshi Nishioka upset fans when he posted a blog entry titled "Relax".  The blog post is gone and replaced by an apology.

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Bobby Valentine announced the creation of a new film production company called Makuhari Media.  They are currently working on three film projects. (via Nikkan Sports)

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