The Buffaloes announced today that Akinobu Okada and head coach Nobuhiro Takashiro will take a leave of absence, beginning today. Chief position player coach Hiroshi Moriwaki will take over as interim manager.
Source: Daily Sports 9/25/2012
UPDATE @ 5:37pm - Okada spoke to reporters today and said that he was a little confused as to why Orix gave him a leave of absence after they asked him to finish out the rest of the season. Source: Daily Sports 9/25/2012
UPDATE 9/26 @ 12:30am - Quotes from various personnel...
Buffaloes: "Since we are now guaranteed a last place finish, we felt it best to look forward to next season as soon as possible. " Source: Nikkan Sports 9/25/2012
Manager Okada: "I had no idea. I came prepared to manage today's game... After all, they told me they wanted me to stay until the end [of the season]... I told the players I would be happy if they could remember everything they worked on over the last three years and use that to help them improve." Source: Sponichi 9/25/2012
Interim coach Moriwaki: "I want to use the remaining time to set goals and work toward them. It is during tough times like this that your true worth is tested. As professionals, we have to do our very best." Source: Nikkan Sports 9/25/2012
Head coach Takashiro: "It makes me sad to suddenly hear today that I am no longer needed. The manager and I were prepared to work until October 8 and now we can not." Source: Nikkan Sports 9/25/2012
Team director Yoshio Murayama: "It is becoming difficult to see what the team goals are. We need to improve and continue to build up for next season. I want them to play games that appeal to the fans." Source: Nikkan Sports 9/25/2012
Orix Buffaloes' player's chairman Fumihiro Suzuki: "We have not put up any results. There is nothing we can say." Source: Nikkan Sports 9/25/2012