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5/19/2012: Ichiro Suzuki, Norichika Aoki, Koji Uehara

by on May.19, 2012 @ 2:12 pm, under MLB
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Games from May 18:

Seattle Mariners 4 - Colorado Rockies
Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) started in right and batter third.  He went 2-for-4: ground out to short, single to left, single to center (stole second and advanced to third on throwing error E2, run scored), ground out to first. [SponichiNikkan Sports]

Texas Rangers 4 - Houston Astros 1
Koji Uehara (TEX) entered the game in the bottom of the 8th, with the Rangers up 4-1, and retired the side in order.  Final line: 1 IP, 13-8 NP-S, 3 BF, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR. [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports

Minnesota Twins 11 - Milwaukee Brewers 3
Norichika Aoki (MIL) started in center and batted second.  He went 2-for-4: single to left, RBI double to center, ground out to the pitcher, ground out to second. [SponichiNikkan Sports]

Durham 6 - Pawtucket 5 (AAA) [Nikkan Sports]
Hideki Matsui (DUR) started in left and batted fourth.  He went 0-for-3: pop out to third, strikeout swinging, walk, ground out to first.  Matsui also threw out Alex Hassan at home plate on a fly out to left in the top of the 2nd. [SponichiNikkan Sports, Daily Sports]

Junichi Tazawa (PAW) entered the game in the bottom of the 7th and allowed four runs (none earned) over 1.2 innings of work.  He took the loss (including his first blown save) and is now 0-1.  Final line: 1.2 IP, 34-22 NP-S, 12 BF, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR. [SponichiNikkan Sports]

Fresno 5 - Round Rock 2 (AAA)
Yoshinori Tateyama (RRE) entered the game in the top of the 8th and tossed two shutout innings in relief.  Final line: 2 IP,  21-18 NP-S, 7 BF, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR. [Nikkan Sports, Sponichi]

Memphis 9 - Las Vegas 6 (AAA)
Ryota Igarashi (LV) entered the game in the top of the 8th and did not allow a run over an inning of work.  Final line: 1 IP, 14-10 NP-S, 4 BF, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR. [Nikkan Sports, Sponichi]

Rochester 5 - Louisville 3 (AAA)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (ROC) started at second and batted first.  He went 1-for-4: fly out to right, single to left (run scored), ground out to short, walk (run scored), ground out to third (force). [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports]

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Brad Penny signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants.  From the SF Chronicle's John Shea:

Brad Penny is a Giant again. Well, at least he’s a Giants minor-leaguer. The pitcher who  went 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six September starts for the 2009 Giants, signed a minor-league deal and will report to extended spring training on Monday.

The Giants see him as a possible reliever. Brian Wilson is done for the season, and Guillermo Mota is serving a 100-game drug suspension.

There's also a short bit about Japan:

On Japan: "It just didn't work out. He wasn't happy where he was over there. He wanted to come back here. The shoulder or elbow, that's not an issue. He showed it today in the bullpen. We'll make sure he is healthy and make sure he will help us. It'll take a little time. When he thinks he's ready and he thinks he's ready, it'll be a mutual agreement, and we'll have him here to help us."

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5/12/2012: Yu Darvish, Hideki Matsui, Tsuyoshi Wada

by on May.12, 2012 @ 3:25 pm, under MLB
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Games from May 11:

New York Yankees 6 - Seattle Mariners 2 [Nikkan Sports, Daily Sports]
Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) started in right and batted third.  He went 0-for-4: pop out to third in foul territory, fly out to left, ground out to third (force), ground out to the pitcher.  Ichiro also recorded his 100th career assist in the bottom of the 1st (threw out Robinson Cano at second). [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports, Nikkan Sports]

Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) started the game and gave up two runs on six hits over seven innings of work.  He got the win and is now 3-4.  Final line: 7 IP, 105-59 NP-S, 29 BF, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR. [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports]

Milwaukee Brewers 8 - Chicago Cubs 7
Norichika Aoki (MIL) entered the game as a defensive replacement in center in the top of the 9th.  He went 0-for-2: ground out to third (reach on fielder's choice), pop out to second. [Nikkan Sports, Sponichi]

Texas Rangers 10 - LA Angels 3 [Daily Sports]
Yu Darvish (TEX) started the game and gave up three runs on three hits over 5.1 innings of work.  He got the win and improved to 5-1.  Final line: 5.1 IP, 93-57 NP-S, 23 BF, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 2 HR. [Sponichi, SponichiNikkan Sports, Nikkan Sports]

Koji Uehara (TEX) entered the game in the top of the 8th, with the Rangers up 10-3, and tossed a shutout inning in relief.  Final line:  1 IP, 22-15 NP-S, 5 BF, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR. [Nikkan Sports, Sponichi]

Pawtucket 5 - Columbus 1 (AAA)
Junichi Tazawa (PAW) entered the game in the top of the 7th and retired all three batters he faced.  Final line: 1 IP, 10-7 NP-S, 3 BF, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR. [Nikkan Sports, Sponichi]

Salt Lake 9 - Round Rock 6 (AAA)
Yoshinori Tateyama (RRE) entered the game in the bottom of the 8th and retired the side in order.  Final line: 1 IP, 11-8 NP-S, 3 BF, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR. [Nikkan Sports, Sponichi]

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Hideki Matsui (TBR) played in a minor league practice game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.  He started in left and went 2-for-4: single to center, walk, strikeout looking, strikeout swinging, infield hit.  Matsui also handled two chances in left.

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Takashi Saito (ARI) threw thirty pitches at about fifty percent in the outfield at Chase Field on Friday.  He told reporters that his right leg (calf) was no longer giving him problems when he threw.  Saito could toss a bullpen session early next week.  Assuming no setbacks, he might be able to make it back to the MLB roster in two to three weeks.

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Tsuyoshi Wada (BAL) had TJ surgery on his left elbow on Friday.  And from MLB.com:

Below is a statement from Orioles LHP Tsuyoshi Wada following his left elbow ligament replacement surgery earlier today in Los Angeles with Dr. Lewis Yocum. Wada will not be available for further comment until he begins his rehabilitation in Sarasota, FL, a date that has not yet been set.

"The procedure went as planned and Dr. Yocum felt good about how it went. He predicts a full recovery. I'm glad to have this over with and look forward to beginning my rehabilitation so I can get back to pitching for the Orioles as soon as possible."

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Via Nikkan Sports, the Associated Press posted an article on Brad Penny and his failure to make it in Japan.  A snip:

"It takes a certain kind of ballplayer to make it in Japan," said author Robert Whiting, who has written several books on Japanese baseball. "I guess Penny wasn't one of those players. It's a sad day when $3 million isn't enough to keep you in Japan."

...

Penny isn't the only former major league player to struggle in Japan. When it comes to playing in Japan, former Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Jim Lefebvre, who played here from 1973-1976 summed it up best: "If you want to succeed in Japan, you have to forget everything you learned in the United States and pretend you are a rookie. Do everything they tell you and you just might make it."

Softbank Hawks to part ways with Brad Penny

by on May.08, 2012 @ 7:55 pm, under NPB
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The Softbank Hawks announced today that they are parting ways with thirty-three-year-old Brad Penny.

Penny made his NPB debut on April 4 against the Rakuten Eagles and was taken off the active roster the following day on April 5 with right shoulder pain.  Penny was examined at two different hospitals in two different countries (first Japan then the US) before returning to Japan and resuming his rehab/training at the Saitozaki facilities on April 20.

Earlier reports indicated that the Hawks did not plan on activating Penny until he was fully healthy.  There were also concerns about his training program -- the team reportedly gave him free reign to do what he felt was necessary, but the injury raised eyebrows.

Brad Penny leaves the Softbank Hawks after throwing just sixty-four pitches.

UPDATE 5/9 @ 12:03am - A couple of reports, including Asahi Shimbun and Sanspo (the same one Carter linked to down below) mention that Penny strongly asked for his release because he was having a hard time adjusting to both life in Japan and baseball in Japan.

Nikkan Sports also quotes manager Koji Akiyama as saying, "Penny...  It is unfortunate.  But part of it is his feelings and then there is also his shoulder.  It can not be helped."

UPDATE 5/9 @ 2:56pm - Sports Hochi Osaka and Sports Hochi note that the Hawks owe Penny about US$1M (~80M yen) for the three months he was with the team. Sponichi (as mentioned by fighting ham down below) figures the Hawks owe about 70M yen.

Sponichi: Softbank Hawks to take Brad Penny (SOF) off active roster

by on Apr.05, 2012 @ 9:37 am, under NPB
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Sponichi is reporting that the Softbank Hawks will take Brad Penny off the active roster today.  Penny is scheduled to get his right shoulder examined at a hospital in Fukuoka.  Depending on the results, he could return to the US for additional testing.

UPDATE @ 9:34pm - Penny was taken off the active roster today and will undergo an examination at a Fukuoka hospital on Friday.

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Softbank Hawks: March 28, 2012

by on Mar.29, 2012 @ 6:21 am, under NPB
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Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Wednesday

  • Tadashi Settsu faced six batters during situational batting practice and threw fifteen pitches. (Sports Hochi)
  • Brad Penny faced fourteen batters during batting practice and gave up three hits, struck out five, and threw a total seventy-two pitches. (Nikkan Sports)

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The Hawks held a kick-off party at a restaurant on Wednesday.

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Alex Cabrera and Hitoshi Tamura were left off the 2012 Opening Day Roster because Cabrera is nursing a bad right hamstring and Tamura is having problems with his back.

Cabrera has started taking batting, but it still unable to run.

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The Hawks announced on Wednesday that the San-gun team will play eighteen games against Ni-gun KBO teams in April, May, and July.

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Images of ten players appeared on four boarding bridges at Fukuoka Airport on Wednesday.  The images will remain up for about two weeks.

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Softbank Hawks: March 22, 2012

by on Mar.23, 2012 @ 4:17 am, under NPB
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Tadashi Settsu was scratched from his start against the Hiroshima Carp on Friday (Yahoo Dome) because of tightness in his lower back.  Pitching coach Ikuo Takayama told reporters it was not serious and that at worst, he would miss another start.

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The San-gun Softbank Hawks play Kyushu Kokusai University and Nippon Bunri University on March 28.  Brad Penny will most likely pitch in one of the two games.

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The Hawks announced on Thursday that they will play with the roof open at Yahoo Dome on April 26 (vs Seibu) and May 23 (vs Hiroshima).

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Via Sanspo, The Hawks will be holding a public viewing of their game on March 31 at Opsia Misumi in Kagoshima.

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Softbank Hawks: March 19, 2012

by on Mar.19, 2012 @ 11:55 pm, under NPB
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The Hawks held a pep rally at Softbank HQ in Shiodome, Tokyo today.  Team owner Masayoshi Son promised to provide players with the new iPad3.  About 500 Softbank employees attended the event.

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Brad Penny and Renyel Pinto rejoined the Ichi-gun team today and worked out at QVC Marine.  Penny is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday and Pinto on Thursday, both games against the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

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Hiroki Kokubo worked out at the indoor training facilities at QVC Marine on his day-off today.  Kokubo wanted to get in some extra work because he missed some time after hurting his left calf during a game against the Yokohama Bay Stars on March 13.

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If Shingo Tatsumi makes the opening day roster, it will likely be as a reliever.

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Kazuyuki Hoashi's first regular season start could come on April 1 against the Orix Buffaloes at Yahoo Dome.

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Softbank Hawks: March 15, 2012

by on Mar.15, 2012 @ 11:55 pm, under NPB
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Today's practice game against Rakuten at Kurashiki: Tadashi Settsu started the game and allowed a run on five hits over five innings of work. [Sports Hochi] ... Nobuhiko Matsunaka hit a two-run homer off the foul pole in right. [Sports Hochi]

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Hiroki Kokubo returned to Fukuoka on Wednesday so that he can focus on getting treatment for the tightness in his left calf.  He is expected to rejoin the team on March 18 and should be able against the Chiba Lotte Marines on March 20.

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Brad Penny was scratched from his Kyoiku League start on Wednesday because of lower back pain.  If Penny can not throw a certain amount of innings/pitches during his next outing (likely five innings and around eighty pitches on March 21 vs Nippon Ham), he could be swapped out of the starting rotation with someone that is more prepared.

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Koji Akiyama called over to Kenta Imamiya during workouts and asked him to try pushing him with his bat.

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Someone registered a fake Brian Falkenborg Twitter account.  It seems the account has since been removed.

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Softbank Hawks: March 13, 2012

by on Mar.13, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Hiroki Kokubo left today's game before taking the field on defense in the 1st inning due to tightness in his left calf.  The injury does not appear to be serious and the team expects Kokubo to be in the line-up on Thursday against the Rakuten Eagles.

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Nikkan Sports notes that Yuichi Honda and Kenji Akashi could take the top two spots in the batting order.

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Kazuyuki Hoashi is scheduled to start a Kyoiku League game against Hanshin (at Naruohama) on Sunday, March 18.

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According to Sanspo, the Hawks will most likely open the season with the following starting rotation:

March 30 - April 1 (vs Orix): Tadashi Settsu, Nagisa Arakaki, Hoashi

April 3 - April 5 (vs Rakuten): Hiroki Yamada, Brad PennyRenyel Pinto

Sho Iwasaki and Kenji Otonari are also still in the running.

====== UPDATE 3/14 @ 12:45am

The Hawks will avoid starting Penny and Pinto against the Rakuten Eagles before the start of the regular season and will instead have them make Kyoiku League starts: Penny against Hiroshima on Wednesday and Pinto against Orix on Thursday.