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Seibu Lions announce that Hiroshi Hirao and Tomoaki Sato will be retiring at the end of the season

by on Oct.01, 2012 @ 9:17 pm, under NPB
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The Seibu Lions announced today that both Hiroshi Hirao (36) and Tomoaki Sato (34) will be retiring at the end of the end of the season.

Hirao's comment:

My biggest reason [for deciding to retire] was because I felt I could no longer help the team.

I was taken off the active roster because of an injury near the end of June and my legs and shoulder were not in good shape. I could not hit.

I played for Hanshin and Seibu over nineteen years.  I put up ordinary numbers and I was not a very good player.  I am grateful that they allowed me an opportunity to play.

I treasure the moments I shared with the team staff, my teammates, and the supportive fans over my nineteen year career.

I did not get many chances to play, but the strong cheers from the fans resounded strongly in my heart.  I am grateful for the great times I had.  Thank you very much!!

Sato's comment:

The moment I started accepting the reality that I was not on the active roster during the cruel summer months, was them moment I started to think about retirement.

I honestly did not think I would have such a hard time seeing the ball during my last at bat [because of the tears].

I think I managed to make it through twelve years because of my desire to win.  I still cannot forget the fans that cheered for me when I came back from an injury in September 2005 and took the field for fielding practice.  That was the happiest moment.

From there, I started working harder for the team, for the fans.  I was willing to put myself on the line if it mean winning a game.  I wanted to make people happy.

I think I worked harder than anyone else in trying to cover as much of the outfield as possible.  Thank you very much for my twelve years!!

Source: official announcement

Sato played in his last game today: Ni-gun vs Lotte, started in right and batted fourth, drove in two runs during his second at bat and struck out swinging in his third at bat.  Source: Nikkan Sports 10/1/2012

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Hiroshi Hirao meets with the Seibu Lions

by on Nov.02, 2010 @ 10:20 pm, under NPB
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11/3/2010 2:57pm JST

Hosokawa's meeting with the Lions yesterday was actually the second of the off-season.  It was also the first time they talked numbers.

11/2/2010 11:06pm JST

The Lions also met with Toru Hosokawa and again asked that he stay with the team.  Said Hosokawa, "I understand how they feel and they are a team that helped grow me as a player."  Hosokawa appears to be leaning towards staying with the team.

Seems the also met with Masahiro Abe and Tomoaki Sato.

10:20pm JST

Hiroshi Hirao met with the Seibu Lions earlier today at Seibu Dome.  Hirao told reporters that the Lions asked him to stay with the team but that the offer he received was lacking.  Hirao also said that while he didn't have any plans to move on to another team, he also didn't feel as if he received an offer that he could accept right away and without another round of negotiations.

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Seibu Lions hold contract talks with four of their own

by on Oct.23, 2010 @ 10:36 am, under NPB
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The Seibu Lions held their first round of contract talks with Hiroshi Hirao, Yoshihito Ishii, Masahiro Abe, and Tomoaki Sato at Seibu Dome on Thursday.  The Lions consider all four players important pieces to the Lions' puzzle in 2011.  Contract details have yet to be discussed.

Nine Lions earned their FA options this season and the club is expected to meet with the rest of the players, like Fumiya Nishiguchi and Toru Hosokawa, at some point in the near future.

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