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[8/5/2014] New York Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka resumes playing catch

by on Aug.05, 2014 @ 1:35 pm, under MLB
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Masahiro Tanaka was cleared to resume playing catch on Monday.  He started at distance of about five meters and slowly expanded out to twenty meters.  He threw the ball around twenty-five times at twenty meters and a total fifty over the entire session.  He played catch with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/5/2014

Sponichi has posted a portion of his interaction with the media:

How do you feel after session?

I was excited beforehand.  It was a good session since I was able to throw the ball for the first time in while.

How were you feeling before the session?

I wasn't really thinking too deeply about anything.  It just felt like it had been a while.  I wasn't particularly concerned.

How do you feel about your progress?

It wouldn't make sense to get hurt again, so my top priority health.  Getting back as soon as possible is important, but I don't want to rush things and I want to be in good shape when I take [the mound].

Have you been keeping track of the team?

I've been watching the games.  I watch every game hoping that they will win.  My job right now is to keep myself in shape.  I don't feel rushed.

Source: Sponichi 8/5/2014

From Newsday's Laura Albanese:

... "It's really light catch," Girardi said of Tanaka's day at the ballpark, which was made up of 25 60-foot throws on the Stadium's outfield grass. "There's still a really long ways to go. You have to plow through each step, really."

... "I'm very relieved," Tanaka said through his translator. "I think the plan is to increase the number of throws as well as the distance . . . I think it went well."

... Tanaka, who received his injection July 14, said then that he felt discomfort doing everyday movements. "It's hard to make an assessment" on whether skipping surgery was the best approach, Tanaka said Monday. "Today was actually my first day throwing . . . but [my] mindset is just to go forward -- keep positive and go forward."

Source: Newsday 8/4/2014

From the New York Post's Dan Martin:

... Tanaka is expected to play catch again Tuesday with more throws and from a longer distance, according to Girardi.

The pitcher and manager agreed they couldn't predict when he might return, although when the injury was discovered general manager Brian Cashman said late August would be the earliest Tanaka could come back.

... "It's obviously a positive he didn't feel anything [Monday], but as I said, it was a pretty light catch," Girardi said. "I think you have to get him on the mound to really see how he's doing."

Source: New York Post 8/4/2014

[4/10/2014] Nikkan Sports: Masahiro Tanaka’s post-game press conference

by on Apr.11, 2014 @ 4:32 am, under MLB
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Nikkan Sports posted Masahiro Tanaka's press conference after his first start at Yankee Stadium on the 9th.

How was your outing?

I think I hung in pretty good, but I do regret putting runners on and giving up the home run.

What pitch did the home run come on?

Slider.

How did this start compare with the one in Toronto?

I think about the same.

You gave up runs early in this game and the last.  What do you think is the reason?

With regards to that, it's something I have to work on, but whether two games is a lot, it's still too early to say.  This is not something I want to hear about after just two games.

Did you know the seventh inning was going to be your last before it started?

In terms of my pitch count, there was some talk about the sixth inning.  But the sixth inning ended quickly with a small number of pitches, so I figured I would probably pitch the seventh.  It was good that I was able to get through the seventh.

Did you think the seventh inning was going to be your last?

Yes, based on the pitch count.

Were you able to prepare properly on four days of rest?

I don't think there were any problems.

You threw over 100 pitches many times in Japan.  Could you have thrown over 100 today?

I probably could have.  But the time in between [starts] is two days shorter than Japan.  The season is also longer.  I am only thinking about doing what I have to, within the number of pitches set by the team.

Do you feel you can succeed in the Majors after pitching in two games?

It has only been two games.  It is not about whether I can or cannot, because this is something I must do.  People around me will determine my value, I just have to my job.

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/10/2014

Nikkan Sports also posted Tanaka's interaction with the media regarding his intro music.

Tell us about the Momoiro Clover Z intro music from the 1st inning.

They made it for me.

Will that be your intro music?

I'm not sure what's going to happen.

What's the name of the song.

The name of the song?  It has not gone on sale yet.  Just wait about another month.

Is there a chance you will not be using it as your intro music after a month?

I'm not sure.  I think I will be using it.

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/10/2014

More behind Hiroyuki Nakajima and the New York Yankees

by on Jan.07, 2012 @ 12:13 pm, under MLB, NPB
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According to Nikkan Sports, the New York Yankees announced they were giving up on Hiroyuki Nakajima about three hours after he arrived in New York (he arrived at JFK Airport at around 9:32am and the announcement was made at around 12:26pm).  The New York Times notes that the Yankees did not know about his trip.  Newsday mentions that Nakajima was looking for a three-year deal.  And Sponichi reports that Nakajima was apparently fine with both the money and his role as back-up; the problem was that Nakajima wanted to become an FA after the year while the Yanks wanted to hold onto his rights for the next six years.

Nakajima could begin salary negotiations for the 2012 season with the Seibu Lions as early as next week.

New York Yankees fail to reach agreement with Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Jan.06, 2012 @ 10:49 am, under MLB, NPB
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The New York Yankees have failed to reach an agreement with Hiroyuki NakajimaVia MLB.com's Bryan Hoch:

"We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. "We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season."

Nakajima is quoted as saying:

It is unfortunate we could not agree to a deal.  I want to thank the Seibu Lions for posting me and the New York Yankees for placing a bid on me.

Deal between New York Yankees and Hiroyuki Nakajima seems unlikely

by on Jan.04, 2012 @ 11:57 am, under MLB, NPB
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Via Nikkan Sports, ESPN's Wallace Matthews reports that it seems unlikely that the New York Yankees and Hiroyuki Nakajima will be able to agree on a deal before the deadline.  A snip:

For one thing, the 29-year-old is the captain and everyday shortstop for the Seibu Lions. The best the Yankees could offer him is a bench role, using him as a sub SS-3B-2B, and the paycheck for that job is nowhere near what Nakajima is looking for.

For another, Nakajima will be a free-agent after next season and will be free to negotiate with any MLB team without having to deal with the restrictions of the Japanes posting system.

The Star-Ledger's Marc Carig has also posted a number of tweets on that pretty much say the same thing (one, two, three, four).

Hiroyuki Nakajima News and Notes: December 9, 2011

by on Dec.09, 2011 @ 11:08 am, under MLB, NPB
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Sponichi mentions that Greg Genske apparently did a good job of selling Hiroyuki Nakajima to the New York Yankees.  They also figure he might get a two-year deal worth a total US$4M.

Sponichi notes that the press release announcing that the Yankees won negotiating rights to Nakajima actually also mentioned Iwakuma's name by accident.  The press release has since been updated, but it apparently read:  "The Yankees now have a period of 30 consecutive days to sign Iwakuma to a Major or Minor League professional contract."

A separate Sponichi article also mentions an ESPN note by Buster Olney about how the Yankees consider trading Nakajima since "they really don't have a role for him."

Joel Sherman tweets that Nakajima will reject the Yankees in order to return to Japan in 2012, earned his international FA option, and head to Boston in 2013.

New York Yankees win rights to Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Dec.08, 2011 @ 2:55 am, under MLB
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Ken Rosenthal tweets that the New York Yankees have won the rights to Hiroyuki Nakajima:

Source: #Yankees win rights to Nakajima. Now must negotiate contract. #MLB

Thanks to Carter for the heads up.

UPDATE @ 1:40pm - As mentioned below by Jonathan, the deal is now officialAccording to Nikkan Sports, the Seibu Lions have announced that the winning bid was US$2.5M (~187.5M yen).

UPDATE @ 3:12pm - The Yankees have until 1/6/2011 to work out a deal with Nakajima.

Nakajima's comment on the Yankees: "They are a team with tradition/history and I am grateful for their bid.  Even though I will leave everything up to my agent, I am looking forward to hearing what they think of me."

Brian Cashman sees Nakajima as a back-up infielder (SS, 2B, and 3B).  Joe Girardi told reporters that Nakajima will be "asked to do a number of things" and that there was enough room on the roster for two utilities infielders (Eduardo Nunez and Nakajima).

Baltimore Orioles’ John Stockstill to check out Darvish’s last start

by on Oct.16, 2011 @ 10:05 am, under MLB, NPB
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Sponichi notes a Baltimore Sun article that says Baltimore Orioles' development director John Stockstill is in Japan to check on a number of players, including Yu Darvish.  Sponichi also mentions that a number of other clubs, like the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox are expected to catch Darvish's last start of the regular season (currently set for the 18th against the Seibu Lions).

Sponichi goes on to provide the following list of 5 clubs interested in Darvish along with possible reasons why:

  • New York Yankees - could lose C.C. Sabathia; looking for a number of starting arms
  • Boston Red Sox - Daisuke Matsuzaka coming back from TJ surgery; John Lackey's elbow problems; urgent need to find arms for the starting rotation
  • Toronto Blue Jays - increase in payroll
  • Baltimore Orioles - Jeremy Guthrie's bad year; looking for quality arm
  • Texas Rangers - GM checked out Darvish in June; could lose CJ Wilson to FA

MLB.com: Darvish will be the only big name free agent Blue Jays go after

by on Oct.13, 2011 @ 11:36 am, under MLB, NPB
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[Via Nikkan Sports] MLB.com's Toronto Blue Jays beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from fans.  One of them is about Yu Darvish:

Darvish is the only big name free agent I could see the Blue Jays taking a run at this offseason. The 25-year-old appears ready to make the jump overseas after beginning his career pitching for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Manager John Farrell has experience working with Japanese pitchers after his four seasons as a pitching coach in Boston, which included time with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima. That would provide insight on how to ease Darvish's transition to North America and Farrell even took Japanese-language courses while in Boston.

Farrell's previous experience is a nice luxury to have but this move will come down to money. Teams will be required to post secret bids to Darvish's team in Japan and the highest figure will net exclusive negotiating rights. Matsuzaka's total cost to Boston -- posting fee and big league contract -- exceeded $100 million and it's likely that Japan's latest prospect would net something similar in return.

It's a risky proposition for any team because it's impossible to really know how Darvish will deal with the transition to the Majors. The one thing we know is that Darvish's arm has a lot less mileage than Matsuzaka's had when he came over in 2007, which should bode well for his long-term health. Darvish also throws his fastball more frequently and commands it a lot better than Matsuzaka ever did.

UPDATE @ 3:01pm - [Via Sports Hochi] The New York Post's George A. King III includes the following snip about Darvish in a recent article on rotation issues for the New York Yankees:

Expect the Yankees to have a serious interest in Rangers ace C.J. Wilson, who will be a free agent, and to monitor the cost of importing Yu Darvish from Japan.