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[5/11/2015] Hanshin Tigers: Randy Messenger taken off active roster

by on May.11, 2015 @ 9:12 pm, under NPB
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Randy Messenger was taken off the active roster today for an overhaul. He could return to the active roster in the minimum ten days for a start against Yomiuri on May 21 at Koshien.

For those interested, a breakdown of his pitches over the last three seasons, including min/max velocities and strike percentages for each pitch type.

Data was taken from Yahoo over the years and may not be 100 percent accurate. If you would like to see more information like this for other pitchers, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to comply.

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2015 - 862 pitches

Pitch NP % Min Vel Max Vel Strikes(Balls) Strike %
Curve 112 13.0% 108km/h 122km/h 52(60) 46.4%
Fastball 459 53.2% 134km/h 152km/h 260(199) 56.6%
Slider 149 17.3% 121km/h 142km/h 82(67) 55.0%
Fork 142 16.5% 128km/h 140km/h 38(104) 26.8%

* 23 were 150km/h or higher (5.0%)

2014 - 3533 pitches

Pitch NP % Min Vel Max Vel Strikes(Balls) Strike %
Curve 336 9.5% 92km/h 128km/h 161(175) 47.9%
Fastball 1980 56.0% 134km/h 156km/h 1085(895) 54.8%
Slider 634 17.9% 120km/h 146km/h 360(274) 56.8%
Fork 583 16.5% 121km/h 144km/h 116(467) 19.9%

* 462 were 150km/h or higher (23.3%)

2013 - 3264 pitches

Pitch NP % Min Vel Max Vel Strikes(Balls) Strike %
Curve 389 11.9% 106km/h 135km/h 181(208) 46.5%
Fastball 1832 56.1% 130km/h 154km/h 996(836) 54.4%
Slider 572 17.5% 120km/h 143km/h 324(248) 56.6%
Fork 471 14.4% 126km/h 143km/h 134(337) 28.5%

* 223 were 150km/h or higher (12.2%)

[5/17/2014] Hanshin Tigers: Messenger tosses third consecutive shutout at Koshien Stadium

by on May.17, 2014 @ 6:12 pm, under NPB
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Randy Messenger tossed his third consecutive shutout victory at Koshien Stadium earlier today and became just the third player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.  (Box scores: April 29 vs HiroshimaMay 11 vs Yomiuri, May 17 vs Yokohama)  The other two:

  • Minoru Murayama in 1962 (vs Yomiuri on July 28, vs Kokutetsu on August 1, and vs Hiroshima on August 23) and 1966 (vs Chunichi on May 17, vs Hiroshima on May 28, and vs Yomiuri on June 8)
  • Gene Bacque in 1965 (vs Sankei on June 16, vs Chunichi on June 22, and vs Yomiuri on June 28)

Quotes from Messenger's Hero Interview:

  • I feel great.  Anytime you can hold a team to three hits and throw a complete game, it's a great feeling.
  • Just kept the ball down.  Made my pitches when I had to.  That's pretty much it.
  • I don't know, Koshien kyujo ichiban.
  • I feel great.  Like I said, anytime you can throw a shutout, especially in front of our home fans, it's a great feeling.
  • They did a great job.  Our team stay patient and we came through when we had to.  Imanari came through and did a great job.
  • Just keep carrying over what I've been doing.  It's nice to keep pitching like I am, the team keeps playing great behind me, the defense especially.  So, just try to keep it going.

Source: Daily Sports 5/17/2014

FYI: Matt Murton recorded his 743rd career hit in the 4th inning and tied Randy Bass's franchise record for hits by a foreign player.

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/17/2014

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[3/7/2014] Hanshin Tigers: Tokyo Sports interviews Randy Messenger

by on Mar.07, 2014 @ 7:27 pm, under NPB
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Tokyo Sports posted an interview they conducted with Randy Messenger.

You considered returning to the Majors, but signed a contract with Hanshin.

We made it to the Climax Series twice over the last four years.  Both times, we lost during the First Stage.  I'd like to win and make it to the Nippon Series with Hanshin.

How did you feel after deciding to return to Japan to play?

My motivation is up since I decided to return to Hanshin.  My workouts have gone well since the start of camp.

The Yomiuri Giants won the Central League without much of a fight.

They are the defending champs.  They're solid on defense, offense, they have it all.  They're a scary team.

You did not get a start against the Giants last year.  When you arrived in Japan in January, you spoke about wanting a start against them.

Of course.  Teams that win have everything, good pitchers and position players.  That is why I always want to pitch against the Giants.

Are you close to Shintaro Fujinami?

We talk a lot.  Pitching Coach Kiyooaki Nakanishi, Pitching Coach Takashi Yamaguchi, and Atsushi Nomi, we're all taking care of him this year.

Will Fujinami experience the sophomore jinx?

Probably not.  But last season,he was always going all out.  It seemed like he was always trying hard...  I think he'd do better if he figured out how to read and react to situations accordingly.

What are you goals for the season?

As a team, of course a championship.  I want to improve on the twelve games I won last year.  I'd like to do better in every statistical category, not just for myself, but for the team as well.  That's it.

Source: Tokyo Sports 3/7/2014

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[1/30/2014] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Jan.31, 2014 @ 2:01 am, under NPB
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The Tigers arrived in Okinawa on Thursday.

Source: Sponichi 1/30/2014

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Mauro Gomez is scheduled to arrive on February 6 and will join the team in Okinawa on the 7th.  Gomez's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, on the 27th.

Source: Sponichi 1/30/2014

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Randy Bass holds the franchise record for hits by a foreign player with 743.  Matt Murton is fifty-four hits away from setting a new record.  Murton starting taking batting practice in December because he was able to find someone to throw him baseballs.  He focused a lot of his off-season training on his lower half.

Source: Daily Sports 1/30/2014, Nikkan Sports 1/30/2014

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Randy Messenger has not started a game against the Yomiuri Giants since September 5, 2012 (at Koshien).  Messenger tossed batting practice to university players twice before arriving in Japan on Wednesday.

Source: Daily Sports 1/30/2014

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The Tigers might be a little worried that Seung Hwan Oh will push himself too hard this year after failing to sign a contract with an MLB team.  They may have asked him to slow things down after seeing how much work he did in Guam.  While there is nothing wrong with using failure as motivation, the last thing they want is for Oh to overwork himself and get hurt (probably the last thing Oh wants as well).

Source: ZakZak 1/30/2014

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Minoru Iwata threw about thirty pitches to a standing catcher on Wednesday.  He also played catch with new teammate Oh.

Source: Sanpso 1/30/2014

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Footage of Shintaro Fujinami pitching in a game from last season will be appearing in a television commercial for parent company Hanshin Denki Tetsudo.  The new spot will hit TVs in the Kansai area on February 22.

Source: Sponichi 1/30/2014

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1st round draft pick Yuta Iwasada throws the fastball with three fingers on the seams.  He told reporters the extra finger helps him throw the ball at more of an angle and, as an added bonus, allows him to throw breaking pitches, like the slider, curve, and change-up, without making too many adjustments to his grip (just a matter of shifting the ball around to re-position which fingers are on the seams).

Source: Daily Sports 1/30/2014, Nikkan Sports 1/30/2014

Iwasada threw twenty-seven pitches, including his curve, cutter, and slider, to a squatting catcher on Thursday.  Shinya Azuhata caught the session.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/30/2014

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The Tigers rebuilt some of the mounds Ginoza with the same kind of red dirt used at Koshien Stadium.

Source: Sanspo 1/30/2014

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NPB teams may be keeping a close eye on Development Coach Masayuki Kakefu and the players he is working with to see how things turn out, according to a report by Tokyo Sports.

Source: Tokyo Sports 1/30/2014

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Team Owner Shinya Sakai is planning to visit Ginoza spring camp twice this year, once beginning on the 9th for three days and again about a week later.

Source: Sanpso 1/30/2014

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[1/29/2014] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Jan.30, 2014 @ 12:35 am, under NPB
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Bullpen Sessions

January 28

  • Atsushi Nomi - Ginoza bullpen; thirty-one pitches to standing catcher, fourteen to squatting catcher; first session of the year
  • Shintaro Fujinami - Ginoza bullpen; thirty-four pitches to squatting catcher; fastball, curve, slider, cutter, fork, and four change-ups
  • 1st round draft pick Yuta Iwasada - Naruohama bullpen, twenty pitches to standing catcher; fastball, seven curveballs
  • 6th round draft pick Suguru Iwazaki - Naruohama bullpen, fifty pitches

January 27

  • 6th round draft pick Suguru Iwazaki - Naruohama bullpen, fifty-five pitches

Sources: Sanspo 1/29/2014, Daily Sports 1/29/2014Sanspo 1/29/2014Sanspo 1/29/2014, Nikkan Sports 1/29/2014

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Randy Messenger arrived at Kansai Airport on Wednesday.  He is looking forward to starting a game against the Yomiuri Giants this year after finishing last year with just one relief appearance against them.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/29/2014

Matt Murton also arrived in Japan on Wednesday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/29/2014

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Shintaro Fujinami had the chance to review his delivery using footage from a high-speed camera after his bullpen session on Tuesday, courtesy Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS).

Source: Sponichi 1/29/2014

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Seung Hwan Oh does not want to rush himself and will probably hold off on tossing a bullpen session during the first block of spring camp.

Source: Sponichi 1/29/2014

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1st round draft pick Yuta Iwasada could toss his next bullpen session on the 30th.

Source: Daily Sports 1/29/2014

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[1/17/2014] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Jan.17, 2014 @ 11:49 pm, under NPB
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Sanspo visited Randy Messenger in Kentucky and conducted an interview with him.  Some key points: he is fine to pitch on four or five days of rest; the Tigers allow him to set his own schedule during spring camp; he is planning to toss two or three full bullpen sessions before spring camp; he has plans to practice with the University of the Cumberlands; he made his own bullpen in his garage (he made it in about ten days, pretty much by himself); he had a chance to redefine himself as a pitcher when he was demoted to Ni-gun; he struggled a little in the early goings last season because he felt he had to do well if he was going to go back to the Majors, he managed to recover after he started thinking more about the team and less about himself; he was not entirely happy about his season last year, but felt he did his job; he did receive offers from MLB teams, but he was not sure how serious they were; he loves ramen, he pitched well after eating some one day and has since decided to eat some the day before his starts, he even knows good places to eat on the road; he likes to listen to music, mostly rap from artists like E-40 and Mistah F.A.B., before his starts.

Source: Sanspo 1/17/2014

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1st round draft pick Yuta Iwasada was out with a fever on Thursday.  If he is out an extended amount of time, or falls behind in his workouts, he could begin the year at Ni-gun spring camp.  The 2013 draft class had the day off today.  How Iwasada is feeling on Saturday could determine which spring camp he gets assigned to.

Source: Sanspo 1/17/2014, Sponichi 1/17/2014

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Shunsuke used a 33.5 inch bat that weighed 920 grams last season.  He is planning to move to a thirty-four inch bat this season.  He is currently working out with former Tampa Bay Devil Rays interpreter/athletic trainer Yoshikatsu Ushijima.

Source: Sponichi 1/17/2014

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Yutaka Wada would like to assign Kosuke Fukudome to Ichi-gun spring camp if he is healthy and ready to go.

Source: Sanspo 1/17/2014

A team official told reporters on Thursday that Fukudome will start the year at Ni-gun spring camp so that he can prepare at his own pace -- they already know what he is capable of so there is no need to rush him.

Spring camp assignments will be made on the 23rd.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/17/2014

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A heated Toto washlet was installed at the indoor training facilities next to Naruohama today.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/17/2014

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[11/24/2013] Hanshin Tigers: Messenger deal finalized, Oh still interested in playing in Majors

by on Nov.25, 2013 @ 12:03 am, under NPB
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The Tigers announced on Saturday that they finalized their two-year deal with Randy Messenger.  The two sides met at a hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The contract is for two years at 500 million yen and includes an option for a third year.

Source: ZakZak 11/24/2013Nikkan Sports 11/24/2013

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Seung Hwan Oh is not sure what he wants to do after his two-years with Hanshin, but he knows if he does well, more options will become available to him.

"I signed a two-year deal with Hanshin.  If I can do well over the two years, who knows what happens after those two years.  I could try for the Majors, the two years with Hanshin could lead to new opportunities" Oh said to Korea JoongAng Daily.

He also said that he wanted to throw his last pitch in a Samsung uniform.

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily 11/23/2013 via Sports Hochi 11/24/2013

Oh will begin his off-season training in Guam in mid-December.

Source: Sanspo 11/24/2013

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Shintaro Fujinami was presented with four team awards during fan appreciation day on Saturday: Special Rookie Award, Fighting Spirit Award, Yutaka Wada's Fresh Player Award, and Yanase's MVP of the Year Award.

Source: Daily Sports 11/24/2013

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[11/15/2013] Hanshin Tigers: Sanspo interviews Randy Messenger

by on Nov.15, 2013 @ 2:47 am, under NPB
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Sanspo posted an interview it recently conducted with Randy Messenger.

Is it ok to say that you have agreed to return next year?  We also confirmed things with your agent.

That's right.  I re-signed with Hanshin.  I'm just really happy about that.  I get excited just thinking about pitching in front of all those fans again.  Hanshin fans are special.  I want to see the fans get excited again as I shutdown the Giants' offense.

How did you family take it?

My wife and kids were happy.  They have gotten used to life in Japan.  They all love Japan now.  It is an easy place to live and safe.  Hanshin has also been good about making sure things are good.

In terms of negotiations, we thought you were planning to wait until the 15th for more MLB offers.

That's right.  That was the plan.  But then Hanshin came to us with a great offer.  It was no longer a question of where.  My terms were to play for a team that wanted me and the terms they presented told me they wanted me back.

You could not say no?

Yeah.  I have always thought about returning to the Majors.  Honestly, I felt this could be my last chance for that.  So when I got back home, I had a hard time thinking about the decision.  Hanshin has been good to me and I am very happy that I can return under these circumstances.

What are something things Hanshin did for you?

Well, they gave me a chance.  At first, it was in relief.  At the time, I threw as hard as I could and tried to get everyone out with power.  But that did not work.  They dropped me to minors.  That is when they taught me pitching like that was not going to work.  I had to think more about control and think about the hitters.  A lot of people helped me out back then, gave me advice.  Then when I asked for one more chance, they gave it to me.  That was a turning point in my career.

Is the contract three years?

It is two years with an option for a third.

So it could go three years?

Yeah.  Then, after that, I want another three-year deal.  So another six years.  Right now, I'm thinking I'll work hard for six years and it would be nice if I can end my career with Hanshin.

Do you feel relieved?

Yeah, I feel great.  I am really happy.  This means I can return to Japan next year.

Source: Sanspo 11/15/2013

Messenger likely signed a two-year deal worth an estimated 600 million yen with a club option for a third year.

Source: Sanspo 11/15/2013

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[11/14/2013] Hanshin Tigers to part ways with Jason Standridge, closer a top priority

by on Nov.14, 2013 @ 4:15 pm, under NPB
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According to Daily Sports, the Hanshin Tigers are closing in on deals with Randy Messenger and Matt Murton.  A team official is expected to fly out to the US to meet each of the players some time between late November and early December to finalize the offers.

The Tigers have not yet made final decisions on Jason Standridge and Blaine Boyer because they are waiting on Seung Hwan Oh.

Source: Daily Sports 11/14/2013

Yomiuri Shimbun is reporting that a Tigers' official said they were not going to re-sign Standridge because they wanted to focus on getting a closer.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun 11/14/2013

Nikkan Sports adds that the Tigers had a deadline to get back to Standridge by the 15th, but the team decided to make signing a closer their top priority (whether it be Oh or another foreign pitcher like Brian Falkenborg).

Standridge was never considered a top priority.  At the end of the season, the front office focused their attention on re-signing Messenger and Murton.  Sentiment may have also been tempered due to some concerns about his age.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/14/2013

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[11/13/2013] Randy Messenger to return to the Hanshin Tigers

by on Nov.13, 2013 @ 2:31 pm, under NPB
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According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Randy Messenger has decided to return to the Hanshin Tigers.

Pitcher Randy Messenger has reached agreement on a three-year contract extension to return to the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, his agent, Matt Sosnick, confirmed Tuesday.

Sosnick declined to reveal the terms of Messenger's extension, but previous reports have said he could earn a total of $15 million -- which would place it among the largest deals ever signed by an American-born pitcher with an Asian professional team.

Source: ESPN 11/12/2013

Daily Sports is reporting that Messenger and the Tigers have pretty much agreed on a two-year deal with an option for a third year based on performance.  They also mention that the Tigers are close to finalizing a deal with Matt Murton.

Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2013