According to a number of reports filed this morning, Hirokazu Ibata is planning to retire and support former teammate and now Yomiuri manager Yoshinobu Takahashi by joining his coaching staff as an infield/base coach.
Ibata held a press conference at the team offices today and announced that he was retiring from baseball.
The veteran infielder has known Takahashi since college. They spent a lot of time together when he joined the Giants in 2014. He decided to retire because he never thought he would have a longer career than Takahashi.
The Yomiuri Giants announced today that Yoshinobu Takahashi met chief adviser Tsuneo Watanabe and owner Koijro Shiraishi in the morning and accepted their managerial offer. Additionally, Takahashi will be retiring as a player/coach.
The Giants released the following statement from Takahashi:
Today I told adviser Watanabe and owner Shiraishi that I was going to retire and accept their offer to become manager next season. There have been many great managers in Yomiuri history. I am prepared to do what it takes to get as close to that group as possible. I want to thank the fans that have supported me as a player since I first joined the Giants eighteen years ago.
According to a report by Nikkan Sports, Yuichi Matsumoto is planning to retire after the seaon. He has already spoken to members of the organization and an announcement will most likely be made before the Nippon Series. Matsumoto is quoted as saying, "I've given it everything I got. I really appreciate the team keeping me around for seventeen years, even though I never managed to win an everyday job."
Kazuyuki Hoashi held a press conference at YafuOku Dome earlier today and announced that he was retiring. Current and former teammates tried to persuade him to reconsider, but he felt it best to end his career after watching young pitchers develop in the Softbank organization. Said Hoashi, "When I came to Fukuoka, I thought about ending my career here. I take pride in being a part of strong Seibu and Softbank teams. Softbank will continue getting better. I want to watch [the team grow] from close by."
The Nippon Ham Fighters informed Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi they were not going to offer him a contract for the 2016 season on October 2. Masubuchi spent some time thinking about his options and tweeted that he decided to retire. He thanked fans and the Swallows and Fighters for their support over the last nine years.
Akihito Fujii held a press conference at the team offices in Nishinomiya, Hyogo ealier today to announce that he was retiring.
Notes from various sources:
He felt a little sad after making his announcement in front of the media.
The sadness came from failing to win a championship this year and wanting to play more.
He started thinking about retirement a year or two ago. He started getting hurt more so he played each day as if it might be his last. Health was a big issue.
He thought he might be able to play a little longer, but after talking things over with his family, he felt retiring in a Hanshin uniform might be the best way to end his career.
He spoke to someone in the organization about retiring in September.
He told Takashi Toritani he was retiring on September 28.
He has a lot of memories from all three teams he played for. He remembers the wins and shutouts he caught.
He also remembers the last Kintetsu game on September 24, 2004.
When he exercised his FA option in 2010, he thought his career might end because no one seemed interested, until Hanshin reached out to him.
He was a Hanshin and Akinobu Mayumi fan growing up.
He did not tell Randy Messenger he was going to retire, but the pitcher still found out. He could feel the emotion in Messenger's pitchers.
He does not think he was a particularly good catcher, but he does take pride in doing whatever it took to make sure balls in the dirt stayed in front of him.
He was once told, by then Kintetsu battery coach Kazuhiko Yamashita, that catcher's have three jobs: catch the ball, stop the ball, throw the ball.
He feels he may have been able to do more over his career.
He wanted to experience a Nippon Series victory beer/champagne fight.
He came over from the Pacific League and was surprised at how many people packed Koshien.
He currently has nothing planned after retirement.
There are people in the Hanshin organization that are interested in bringing him back as a coach.
The Tigers offered to hold a retirement ceremony when the team played Hanshin on October 4, but he felt it might make things awkward for the team, since they were still competing for a spot in the Climax Series. He also wanted to play until the very end.
He felt his retirement ceremony took place on September 29 when his family and relatives were in the stands. He was extemely happy when he managed to record a hit in his last at bat, in his last regular season game, in front of his daughter.
He is listed ta 170 centimeters, but is really 168. He has a height complex.
The Hiroshima Carp announced that they accepted player/Ni-gun hitting coach Akihiro Higashide's decision to retire. A press conference will be held in Hiroshima in the near future.
The thirty-five-year-old infielder suffered a serious injury to his left knee while sliding into home plate during an spring camp intra-squad game in 2013 and never managed to make it back to Ichi-gun. He added Ni-gun hitting coach to his title when he accepted the position last October.
Higashide held a press conference at the team offices in Minami-ku, Hiroshima earlier today.
Notes taken from various sources:
He felt he did okay over the first fourteen years of his career. The last three, not so much.
He made it into baseball because of his speed. He had decided to quit once his legs stopped working for him.
He considered retiring after his leg injury during spring camp in 2013.
He does not feel sad about the decision.
Most of his memories are not positive: he remembers feeling like he would never make it professionally, not having the confidence to play in Ichi-gun games, and the taunts he heard after making mistakes. He does remember feeling happy when he could tell his skills were improving.
He is proud of how he was able to actively approach older players around him for advice.
He wishes (half-jokingly) he had a chance to pitch.
Working as a coach this year, his main message to younger players was to enjoy and value the process, and to work through issues as they came up.
Nagai held a press conference at kobo Stadium to announce his decision to retire after the season.
A few notes from various sources:
When the team told him they were not going to offer him a contract next season, he thought about playing for another team, but ultimately could not imagine playing away from the Tohoku region. That is when he decided to retire.
He also felt he reached his limit when he could no longer help the team win.
His velocity was down this year and his pitches were not as good as last year. He felt it might be difficult for him to compete against hitters.
Masahiro Tanaka was surprised when he told him he was retiring. He has not yet spoken to Hisashi Iwakuma.
Nagai was added to the active roster on October 6. He pitched in the last game of his career on the same day. He took the mound in the 6th inning against Lotte and struck out the one hitter he faced: Ikuhiro Kiyota. Lotte's Kiyota, Koji Aoyama, Senichi Hoshino, and his family (wife, daughter, and son) presented him with flowers after the game. Teammates tossed him into the air five times.