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[2/5/2014] Chunichi Dragons News and Notes

by on Feb.06, 2014 @ 12:53 am, under NPB
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Name Type Date NP Notes
Masahiro Yamamoto Bullpen 2/5 40 Five to a squatting catcher partway through; first session during camp.  Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014, Sponichi 2/5/2014


General Manager Hiromitsu Ochiai stopped to give Masahiro Araki some advice during soft-toss batting practice on Wednesday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014


Hector Luna took some fielding practice at third and first on Wednesday.  Michihiro Ogasawara also spent some time at first as well.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014


Masahiro Yamamoto told reporters on Tuesday that he wanted to face live batters before the end of camp, perhaps some time after the 20th.  He also said that he wanted to prepare by throwing about 1,200 pitches.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014


Kenshin Kawakami complained of minor tightness in his back and was given the day off on Wednesday as a precaution.  He is considered day-to-day.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014, Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014


Ni-gun manager Takahiro Saeki ended workouts after the morning session on Tuesday to give players a bit of a break.  Ni-gun camp is in the middle of a nine-day workweek.  Workouts have been starting at 8:30am and ending at 8:30pm (includes early and late sessions).

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014, Sponichi 2/5/2014


Samurai Japan Hiroki Kokubo visited Chatan camp on Wednesday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/5/2014

[11/19/2013] Chunichi Dragons re-sign Kenshin Kawakami

by on Nov.19, 2013 @ 7:37 pm, under NPB
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The Chunichi Dragons announced today that they re-signed Kenshin Kawakami (38).  They posted the following statement from Kawakami:

It is a little embarrassing, but I am back with the Dragons.  GM Hiromitsu Ochiai and manager Motonobu Tanishige contacted me and I re-signed.  It was just a short while ago, and then two years ago that I had a press conference like this.  It feels a bit strange.  I never thought I would return to the Dragons, never imagined it.  GM Ochiai told me he was glad that I returned and that really made me happy, more than anything else.  I do not want to get a late start at spring camp and will do my best to make sure I am prepared to compete for a starting job.  Next year, I want to find a spot in the starting rotation and stay there the entire year.  If I can do that, I will be fully satisified.

Source: official announcement

Reports place the value of the contract at an estimated thirty million yen.

Source: Daily Sports 11/19/2013


See also:

[10/4/2013] Rumors: Yokohama Bay Stars, Casey McGehee

by on Oct.05, 2013 @ 1:46 am, under NPB
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Yokohama Bay Stars

The Bay Stars will be keeping their eye on several pitchers this winter, including Kenshin Kawakami, Hisanori Takahashi (if he decides to return), Brian Wolfe, and Hideaki Wakui.

Source: Sponichi 10/4/2013

Rakuten Eagles

SportsNet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that Casey McGehee will explore potential MLB opportunities during the upcoming off-season.  A snip:

In his first season overseas, the 30-year-old infielder hit 27 home runs while driving in 90 and posting an .883 OPS for the Eagles. He isn't ruling out staying in Japan, but he plans to explore a return to MLB in the coming months.

[...] "It has been a great season in Japan and at the end of the season he will decide whether to continue in Japan or return here," agent Barry Meister said.

Source: SportsNet 10/2/2013

[10/3/2013] Chunichi Dragons Senryokugai: Kenshin Kawakami

by on Oct.03, 2013 @ 12:35 pm, under NPB
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The media learned today that the Chunichi Dragons informed Kenshin Kawakami on Wednesday that they will not offer him a contract for the 2014 season.  An official announcement has yet to be made.

The Dragons reportedly offered him a position as a coach next season and a retirement game on the last home game of the season (October 5), but he declined because he wants to play next season.  The organization decided to part ways with the thirty-eight-year-old veteran because they want to get younger.

A number of teams, including Yakult, Yokohama, Rakuten, and Hanshin, could be interested in the right-handed veteran.  However, there are concerns about his health, including the condition of his right shoulder.  Whether he finds another suitor will likely depend on that.

Source: Daily Sports 10/3/2013, Daily Sports 10/3/2013, Daily Sports 10/3/2013Sports Hochi 10/3/2013, Nikkan Sports 10/3/2013, Sponichi 10/3/2013

UPDATE @ 2:50pm -

Kawakami worked out at Nagoya Stadium today.  He spoke to reporters and said, "I have spoke to team officials.  I was surprised [at the decision] because I was planning on returning next season to play."

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/3/2013

UPDATE 10/4 @ 6:23pm -

The Dragons made an official announcement on Thursday.

Source: official announcement


(continue reading...)

[8/20/2013] Injury Updates: Kawakami (CHU), Balentien (YAK), Hidaka, Uemoto (HAN), Nakamura (SEI), Falkenborg (SOF), Nishino (LOT)

by on Aug.20, 2013 @ 8:26 pm, under NPB
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Chunichi Dragons

Kenshin Kawakami (right shoulder) is ready for Ichi-gun.  He will get his first start of the year on the 22nd against Hiroshia at Nagoya Dome.  This could be a make or break game for the veteran.

"This is not about expectations, but rather about whether or not he can still play.  Everything is on the line.  If he does poorly, he probably will not get another chance," said Morimichi Takagi.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/20/2013, Sponichi 8/20/2013

Yakult Swallows

The Swallows are a little concerned about Wladimir Balentien's left ankle (tweaked it during a game against Hanshin on the 18th) and will likely keep a close eye on it.  He did make it into the starting line-up against Yomiuri tonight.

Source: Sanpso 8/20/2013

Hanshin Tigers

There is a chance Takeshi Hidaka (left hamstring) and Hiroki Uemoto (left ankle) could rejoin the Ichi-gun team in time for the Chunichi series that begins on the 23rd.

Source: Sanspo 8/20/2013

Seibu Lions

Takeya Nakamura's return to the active roster has been delayed after he missed a rehab Ni-gun game on the 18th with discomfort in his left shoulder.

Source: Daily Sports 8/20/2013

Softbank Hawks

Brian Falkenborg (tightness in neck and back) is expected to join the Ichi-gun team on Wednesday.  Whether or not he will be added back to the active roster is not yet known and will depend on how he is feeling and whether or not the team needs him right away.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/20/2013

Chiba Lotte Marines

Yuji Nishino (right shoulder) is currently scheduled to face Masahiro Tanaka during his next start on the 23rd.  Nishino was taken off the active roster on the 10th.  He rejoined the Ichi-gun team for workouts on Monday and was cleared for a return.

Takuya Furuya was originally penciled in for the start.

Source: Sports Hochi 8/20/2013, Sponichi 8/20/2013

[7/28/2013] Injury Updates: Kawakami (CHU), Balentien (YAK), Fujii, Nishioka (HAN), Fujioka (SOF)

by on Jul.28, 2013 @ 11:58 pm, under NPB
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Chunichi Dragons

Kenshin Kawakami (right shoulder) tossed three shutout innings while allowing two hits in a Ni-gun game against Orix today.  He struck out four and topped out at 140km/h.  It was his first rehab game.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/28/2013, Sports Hochi 7/28/2013

UPDATE 7/29 @ 7:49am - Kawakami is hoping to make the active roster some time in August.  Source: Sponichi 7/29/2013

Yakult Swallows

Wladimir Balentien was left out of the starting line-up tonight against Hiroshima because of tightness in his lower back.  The condition is reportedly not serious, but the also Swallows did not want to take any chances.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/28/2013

Hanshin Tigers

Akihito Fujii was removed from tonight's game against the Bay Stars after he felt some discomfort in his left hamstring while running to first on a single to right in the 5th inning.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka sat out the game with left knee pain.

Source: Sanspo 7/28/2013

Softbank Hawks

Yoshiaki Fujioka was taken off the active roster on June 28 with liver problems.  He was hospitalized and was recently discharged on the 26th.  He will begin rehab work at the Saitozaki training facilities, but will take it easy over the next two months.  There is a good chance he will miss the rest of the season.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/28/2013

[7/23/2013] Injury Updates: Lopez (YOM), Kawakami (CHU), Yamato (HAN), Nakamura (SEI), Otonari, Uchikawa (SOF), Iguchi (LOT)

by on Jul.24, 2013 @ 1:11 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

Jose Lopez (left side) played in a Ni-gun rehab game against Rakuten on Tuesday.  He was the starting DH and batted fifth.  He went 2-for-3.  He will most likely play in three more Ni-gun games before rejoining the Ichi-gun team on the 30th (vs Yakult at Tokyo Dome).

Source: Sanspo 7/23/2013

Chunichi Dragons

Kenshin Kawakami (right shoulder) pitched in an intra-squad game at Nagoya Stadium on Monday.  This was his first rehab game this season.  He gave up two runs on three hits over two innings of work.  He is scheduled to pitch in a Ni-gun rehab game against Orix on the 28th.

Source: Daily Sports 7/23/2013

Hanshin Tigers

Yamato (bruise on his right middle finger) played in an intra-squad game at Koshien on Monday and went 0-for-2.  This was his first game in six days.  He will most likely return to the starting line-up on Wednesday.

Source: Sponichi 7/23/2013


Ni-gun batting coach Kenichi Kawamura will be taking some time off from his duties for health reasons (he went to the hospital during the All-Star break for a check-up and was told by the doctor to get some rest).  There is no timetable on his return.

Source: Sanspo 7/23/2013

Seibu Lions

Takeya Nakamura did not get his scheduled trip to the plate during Tuesday's Ni-gun game against Nippon Ham at Seibu Dome because there were concerns about his condition -- his left knee was ok but he was experiencing some general stiffness (as in, not in the knee) with the increase in his workout load.

Source: Sponichi 7/23/2013, Nikkan Sports 7/23/2013


Takayuki Kishi may not start the second-half of the season right away since he was not able to spend enough time preparing for it during the All-Star break (he has not been feeling right).

Source: Sanspo 7/23/2013

Softbank Hawks

Kenji Otonari played catch (roughly ten minutes at about twenty meters) at the Saitozaki training facilities on the 22nd.  His rehab menu will change once every six months.  His goal is to play in his first rehab game some time in the fall (Phoenix League).

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/23/2013


Seiichi Uchikawa hurt himself when he banged into a wall while playing defense at QVC Marine during a game against Lotte on the 15th.  He was scheduled for an examination at a hospital in Fukuoka on Tuesday because he may have suffered an injury to his right costal cartilage.  He has no problems swinging the bat but does have some difficulty throwing the ball.  He was available as a DH and pinch-runner during the All-Star Series and may not be able to play in the field right away when the regular season resumes on Wednesday.

Source: Sports Hochi 7/23/2013, Sponichi 7/23/2013

Chiba Lotte Marines

The right calf Tadahito Iguchi hurt during a game against Softbank on the 16th is still not fully healed.  He did not participate in practices on Tuesday.  Tsutomu Ito is hoping Iguchi will be ok for the start of the second-half.

Source: Sponichi 7/23/2013

Chunichi Dragons discuss retirement with Yamamoto, Kawakami, Yamasaki, Iwase

by on Nov.02, 2012 @ 4:32 pm, under NPB
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Masahiro Yamamoto (47), Takeshi Yamasaki (43), Hitoki Iwase (37), and Kenshin Kawakami (37) are all planning to continue their active careers next season.  The media learned on Monday that the Chunichi Dragons met all four and broached the topic of retirement.

Team president Katsuhiko Sakai, team rep Ryohei Sato, and chief of team developement Takashi Ide met each of the players at a hotel in Nagoya on October 31.  They pushed each to continue playing in 2013.  They also said they planned to approach each of them during the season next year to discuss their future plans.

Said Sato, "Retirement did come up.  We asked what they thought about it.  We want them to consider becoming coaches at some point."

Bottom line, it seems the Dragons do not want to dance around the issue and want to keep things open.

Yamamoto and Yamasaki were uncertain about their futures before they decided to commit to 2013.  The other two are still probably a couple years away from retirement: Iwase led the league in saves this year and Kawakami just finished year one of his NPB comeback.

Source: Sponichi 11/2/2012, Sports Hochi Osaka 11/2/2012


UPDATE @ 10:15pm - Nikkan Sports has a quote from Sato that explains what the Dragons are trying to do.

"We cannot just think a player's career is over and assume they know what we are thinking.  It also is not good for the player to be in a situation where they might not know if it is ok for them to stick around or they are not sure about what to do.  I just said that beginning next year, we should speak openly about these things and not assume/suspect what the other is thinking."

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/2/2012

Injury Updates: Kenshin Kawakami, Naoto Watanabe, Yoshiyuki Kamei, Kenji Jojima

by on Apr.08, 2012 @ 8:56 pm, under NPB
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The Chunichi Dragons took Kenshin Kawakami off the active roster today with some pain in his left back.  Kawakami tweaked the back when he tried to field a grounder hit back to the mound during a game against the Yakult Swallows on Saturday.  Since the injury is not considered serious, Kawakami will remain with the Ichi-gun team as he recovers.


Naoto Watanabe (Yokohama) was taken off the active roster today with inflammation in his lower back.  The team is hopeful he will be able to return after ten days.


Yoshiyuki Kamei (Yomiuri) was hit by a pitch in the head in the 5th inning of today's game against the Hanshin Tigers.  Kamei was examined at the hospital and diagnosed with a broken nose.  He will be re-examined on Monday.

Tatsuya Kojima (Hanshin) was ejected from the game for throwing the pitch.


Kenji Jojima (Hanshin) was taken out of today's game against the Yomiuri Giants on defense in the 3rd inning after he took a batted ball off the area near his left shoulder in the 2nd inning.  He was later diagnosed with a contusion near his left collarbone.  He is considered day-to-day.

Chunichi Dragons: March 24, 2012

by on Mar.24, 2012 @ 11:52 pm, under NPB
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The Dragons announced today that Kazuki Yoshimi will donate 10,000 yen for every inning he pitches this season to a foundation that helps kids that lost parents during the Tohoku Earthquake.  He also plans to raise money by holding a charity auction, via his official blog.


Kenshin Kawakami will likely make his first regular season start on March 31 against the Hiroshima Carp (Nagoya Dome).


Sanspo wonders what kind of car Takeshi Yamasaki might buy during the next off-season.  They also list out his past off-season purchases:

2006 - Ferrari 512M (~23M yen)
2007 - Lamborghini Murcielago (~35M yen)
2011 - Lamborghini Aventador (30M~40M yen)

And Sponichi notes that if Yamasaki finishes exhibition play leading the league in homers, he will be the first forty or over player to do so since Katsuya Nomura led the league with with five in 1975 at the age of forty.


Daola successfully turned a back-flip, with a twist, after the 7th inning today.