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[9/29/2015] Nobuhiko Matsunaka to part ways with Softbank Hawks to continue career

by on Sep.29, 2015 @ 7:12 pm, under NPB
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Nobuhiko Matsunaka (41) held a press conference at YafuOku Dome earlier today to announce that he submitted a request to be released so that he can continue playing. He imagined finishing his career with the Hawks, but his desire to keep playing was stronger. He decided to part ways with the team because he did not want any regrets by retiring too soon. He wants to investigate all his options, no matter how small they might be. Matsunaka wants to play until he has nothing left in him and until he is fully satisfied.

When asked if he might play for a league other than the NPB, he said he was not sure because he just made the decision a day or two ago and that it was something he had to think about moving forward.

A couple of quotes from the press conference:

Beginning in the off-season, I felt strongly about doing my best, about making it at Ichi-gun under Kimiyasu Kudo. But I didn't do well when I played in exhibition games and I started the year at Ni-gun. The team had a tremendous year and won a pennant. It was the first time in my nineteen-year career that I was not with the team the moment they clinched and that was really hard for me. When I was called up and I stood in the dugout, I felt there was no place for me here. That there was nothing more I could teach. That's how I felt.

They called me up and I got seven or eight trips to the plate. There were times over the last few years where it felt like I wasn't seeing the ball, but this year, I could see the ball. I don't think continuing to play is just about a healthy body, but I honestly feel great. And I have the desire. I decided that as long as there is a part of me that wants to hit, that wants to figure out better ways to hit, that I would rather play until I have nothing left than retire and think about what might have been.

A lot of people have cheered for me and gave me power the last nineteen years. I wanted to give as many people a chance to see me play in a Hawks uniform, so I thought making the announcement as soon as possible would be best. I feel really bad because I should have waited until the end [of the season].

On a side note, Jiji Press accidentally published a report about Matsunaka retiring.

Source: official tweet, Sponichi 9/29/2015, ZakZak 9/29/2015, Sports Hochi 9/29/2015, Nikkan Sports 9/29/2015, Sanspo 9/29/2015NHK 9/29/2015, Sanspo 9/29/2015, Tokyo Sports 9/29/2015, Tokyo Sports 9/29/2015

[UPDATE 10/2 @ 9:16pm]

Matsunaka played in his last game in a Softbank uniform on October 1 against Rakuten. He made the starting line-up at designated hitter and batted seventh. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He was taken off the active roster on October 2.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/2/2015

[4/29/2014] Injury Report: Takehiro Ishikawa (Yokohama), Manabu Mima (Rakuten)

by on Apr.29, 2014 @ 11:54 pm, under NPB
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Yokohama Bay Stars

  • Takehiro Ishikawa jammed his right index finger while running the bases in the 7th inning of Tuesday's game against Chunichi.  He was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the 8th.  He is considered day-to-day. Source: Sports Hochi 4/29/2014

Rakuten Eagles

  • Manabu Mima's start against the Chiba Lotte Marines was cut short on Tuesday after he took a ball hit by Luis Cruz off his stomach in the 1st inning.  Mima fell to the ground but still managed to grab the ball and make the throw to first for the final out of the inning.  He was helped off the field and was replaced by 7th round draft pick Kazutomo Aihara in the 2nd. Source: Nikkan Sports 4/29/2014, Sponichi 4/29/2014 ... Mima was diagnosed with a bruise on the right portion of his lower abdomen.  What happens next will depend on how he is feeling on Wednesday. Source: Sponichi 4/29/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • Nobuhiko Matsunaka took an HBP off his right knee during a game against Seibu at YofuOku Dome on the 25th.  He has since made some changes to his swing -- he feels pain when he plants his right foot after a big leg kick and has decided to use a slide step instead. Source: Sponichi 4/29/2014

[10/6/2013] Rumors: Morimoto (YOK), Otake (HIR), K. Nakata (CHU), Matsunaka (SOF), Rottino, Ming-Chieh (ORI)

by on Oct.06, 2013 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Yokohama Bay Stars

Hichori Morimoto was senryokugai'ed on the 4th.  He took to Twitter today and told fans he was going to do his best next year.  People close to the situation have also said that Morimoto is hoping to play next year.

Source: Tweet 10/6/2013, Sponichi 10/6/2013

Softbank Hawks

The Hawks have their eye on potential free agents Kan Otake (Hiroshima) and Kenichi Nakata (Chunichi).  They may also be looking to the foreign market for another big bat.

Source: Sanspo 10/6/2013


Thirty-nine-year-old Nobuhiko Matsunaka would like to continue playing next year and help the team work its way back to the top.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/6/2013

Orix Buffaloes

Vinny Rottino returned to the US on Saturday.  The Buffaloes will most likely part ways with the thirty-three-year-old.

The Buffaloes announced that Ming-Chieh Hsu will not be returning in 2014 on Saturday.  He would like to continue playing and is open to playing anywhere.

Source: Sponichi 10/6/2013

Softbank Hawks: Nobuhiko Matsunaka to miss a month with a right calf strain

by on Apr.09, 2013 @ 11:43 pm, under NPB
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Nobuhiko Matsunaka (SOF) hurt his right leg while running the bases in a game against Nippon Ham on the 6th and was taken off the active roster on the 7th.  He was examined at a Fukuoka hospital today and diagnosed with a right calf strain.  He will require about a month for a full recovery.

Source: Jiji Press 4/9/2013, Sponichi 4/9/2013

Ryoji Aikawa (Yakult) to miss two months; Nobuhiko Matsunaka (Softbank) hurts right calf

by on Apr.06, 2013 @ 9:37 pm, under NPB
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Ryoji Aikawa (Yakult) took a hard hit at home plate as he tried to block a run from scoring in the 4th inning of today's game against Yokohama (Tony Blanco was the runner).  He was removed from the game on defense in the 6th inning.  He was later taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder.  He will require about two months for a full recovery.

Source: Sponichi 4/6/2013


Nobuhiko Matsunaka (Softbank) left today's game after he hurt his right calf while running the bases in the 4th inning.  He will likely be taken off the active roster and will have his leg examined early next week.

Source: Sponichi 4/6/2013

Softbank Hawks News and Notes: February 2, 2013

by on Feb.02, 2013 @ 11:39 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice


  • Bryan LaHair: indoors, sixty-one swings, thirty could-be hits (twenty-seven swings and ten hits were against LHP)

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/2/2013


  • Nao Higashihama: bullpen, forty-five pitches, squatting catcher, second session in as many days
  • Shota Takeda: bullpen, forty-five pitches, all fastballs
  • 6th round draft pick Hirofumi Yamanaka: bullpen, forty-eight pitches

Source: Sports Hochi 2/2/2013, Sports Hochi 2/2/2013, Nikkan Sports 2/2/2013


Nobuhiko Matsunaka took grounders at first for about thirty minutes today.

Source: Sanspo 2/2/2013


3rd round draft pick Tomoki Takata cut his workouts short today because he was not feeling well (fever).

Source: Sponichi 2/2/2013, Nikkan Sports 2/2/2013

Softbank Hawks: Nobuhiko Matsunaka taken off active roster with wrist sprain

by on Jun.18, 2012 @ 5:56 pm, under NPB
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Nobuhiko Matsunaka was taken off the active roster today with a left hand joint sprain (there was no damage to bones).  Matsunaka was evaluated at a hospital on Sunday after he hurt his wrist while sliding into first on a ground out to short during a game against Yokohama on June 16.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/18/2012Sponichi 6/18/2012


Hideki Okajima has not allowed a run in any of the twenty-four games he has appeared in so far this year.


Once Terry Doyle's work visa clears (likely later this month), the Hawks will have him pitch in a few games at Ni-gun.  Source: Sponichi 6/18/2012


Hiroki Kokubo will likely be added to the active roster on June 26 if can play through an upcoming three-game series against the Ni-gun Hiroshima Carp (begins on June 22) without getting tired and needing rest.  Source: Sports Hochi Osaka 6/18/2012

Softbank Hawks: Settsu taken off active roster for rest; Kokubo could return 6/26

by on Jun.17, 2012 @ 11:07 pm, under NPB
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Tadashi Settsu was taken off the active roster today since he is not scheduled to pitch for at least ten days.  The Hawks also want to give Settsu a chance to rest before his next start.  Source: Sponichi 6/17/2012


Nobuhiko Matsunaka did not take part in pre-game practice and was held out of today's game because he hurt his left wrist when sliding head first into first during Saturday's game against Yokohama.  Source: Sponichi 6/17/2012


The Hawks held a press conference at Yahoo Dome for Terry Doyle today.  The Hawks have uploaded footage of the press conference at Ustream.  Source: Daily Sports 6/17/2012


Hiroki Kokubo worked out at Yahoo Dome today.  He will begin taking live batting practice on Tuesday and will play in a Ni-gun game next weekend.  If everything is ok, he might be able to return to the active roster as early as June 26.

Kokubo may also undergo another evaluation on Monday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/17/2012

Softbank Hawks: February 21, 2012

by on Feb.21, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Today was the last day of fifth block of spring camp.  The team has the day off tomorrow.


Hiroki Kokubo closed out his workouts early on Monday because of tightness in his back.  He left practices early again today and was excused from the intra-squad game.  Kokubo told reporters he was feeling better today (he got a second round of acupuncture treatment on Monday).


Kenji Akashi was called up to Ichi-gun camp today -- he was working out at Ni-gun camp because of right shoulder problems.


Koji Akiyama advised Kenji Otonari to watch Kazuyuki Hoashi toss bullpen sessions to figure out things he needs to think about when he tosses his (like taking sessions more seriously instead of just tossing them for the sake of tossing them).


Sadaharu Oh told Nobuhiko Matsunaka on Monday that he was taking his hands back too much before his swing, likely because he was thinking too much about hitting the ball hard.


Ayatsugu Yamashita slept in and was late to practice on Monday.  His punishment: demotion to Ni-gun camp.

Softbank Hawks: January 29, 2012

by on Jan.29, 2012 @ 11:43 pm, under NPB
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Wily Mo Pena and Brian Falkenborg were scheduled to arrive in Fukuoka today.  Their flight arrived at 8:30pm but only Falkenborg stepped off the plane.  Pena ended up arriving about two and a half hours later -- he missed his connecting flight to Fukuoka because his plane arrived at Narita (out of Chicago) about 50 minutes behind schedule.


Training camp for the 2011 draft class at the Saitozaki training facilities ended today.


Seiichi Uchikawa (29) made an appearance on FBS' Yumekukan Sports today and was asked if he wanted to play in the Majors.  His reply: "The moment I joined the Hawks, I decided I would finish things out here."


Edison Barrios arrived at Fukuoka Airport today (Venezuela > Narita > Fukuoka) and told reporters that he has been tossing bullpen sessions on a regular basis after two months of winter ball in Venezuela.


Rehab coach Kazumi Saito (34) will attend spring camp in Miyazaki for the first time in three years.

Saito extended his coaching contract with the team on Saturday.


Nobuhiko Matsunaka (38) on his role with the team:

I used to think about winning a championship while batting clean-up, but my view of the game starting changing last year.  [Yuichi] Honda, [Nobuhiro] Matsuda, [Seiichi] Uchikawa.  I will let them take care of the team.  I just want to play well over the remaining time I have left [in my career].  I think that will help the team.  I will play [with the excitement] as if I were a kid.


Bullpen sessions:


Nagisa Arakaki threw about 40 pitches to a standing catcher.  He told reporters he plans to throw about 100 pitches a session during spring camp.

1st round draft pick Shota Takeda tossed a bullpen session with a squatting catcher.