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[10/5/2013] Hanshin Tigers: Shinjiro Hiyama’s retirement ceremony

by on Oct.05, 2013 @ 11:03 pm, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers held a retirement ceremony for Shinjiro Hiyama after tonight's game against the Yomiuri Giants at Koshien.

His speech, a posted by Daily Sports:

First, I would like to thank the Hanshin organization for organization this ceremony for me, Shinjiro Hiyama.  Thank you very much.

I also want to thank the Giants' organization and the Giants' fans.

May 30, 1992 was the day I wore the Tigers uniform and made my debut at Koshien.  I struck out.

In looking back, I followed after my brother as I was growing up.  I owe my parents for giving me the strong body that has allowed me to play baseball for such a long time.  And my family was always there to cheer me up.  Thank you.

These twenty-two years, through good and bad times, you have warmly cheered for me.  When my name was announced as a pinch-hitter, your warm cheers made it seem like the ground was trembling.  You gave so much courage.  I will never forget it.

I was able to experience two league pennants with all of you.  But the Nippon Series championship has remained elusive.  We will capture it someday.  And when we do, let us all do it together.

I am a very lucky man.  Thank you for these twenty-two years.

Source: Daily Sports 10/5/2013

A few other notes:

  • The game was shown on a big screen at Shochiku Geino's Dotonbori Kadoza Hiroba.
  • Hiyama's two sons participated in the ceremonial first pitch -- the eldest, Shusei, was the pitcher and the second son, Soshu, was the catcher.
  • Hiyama got the start in right and batted fifth.  He made the starting line-up for the first time since May 27, 2012 (vs Seibu).
  • Hiyama went 0-for-3 before he was replaced on defense in the 8th inning: F7, F9, G3.
  • Yomiuri Giant Shinnosuke Abe, teammates Takashi Toritani, Kentaro Sekimoto, and his two sons presented him with flowers.
  • He was tossed into the air eight times.

Source: Kadoza Hiroba announcement, Daily Sports 10/5/2013, Sponichi 10/5/2013, Daily Sports 10/5/2013

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[9/9/2013] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Sep.09, 2013 @ 11:57 pm, under NPB
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Ryoma Matsuda was taken off the active roster today after a bad outing on Sunday against the Yomiuri Giants: 0.2 IP, 7 BF, 5 H, 3 HR, 5 R, 5 ER.

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Shintaro Fujinami tried playing catch at a distance of about ten meters with his left arm during pre-game practices on Sunday.  He also apologized to Yomiuri Giant Shinnosuke Abe for his HBP on Saturday.

Source: Sponichi 9/9/2013Daily Sports 9/9/2013

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Shinjiro Hiyama made his 745th appearance as a pinch-hitter on Sunday and recorded his 157th hit and 108th RBI.  Both totals are good for second in CL history.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/9/2013

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GM Katsuhiro Nakamura left for Korea on Sunday to check on Seung-Hwan Oh (Samsung).  He will be at Samsung games on the 10th and 11th.  He also plans to check on other players, like Suk-Min Yoon (KIA).

Source: Sponichi 9/9/2013

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An altercation between a Hanshin fan and Yomiuri fan took place in the left field stands during the 6th inning of Sunday's game at Koshien.  According to someone sitting in the area, a Yomiuri fan climbed onto a railing and shouted something out loud that angered a nearby Hanshin fan.  The Hanshin fan pulled the Yomiuri fan off the railing.  Security guards and police broke it up before things got out of hand.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/9/2013

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Matt Murton was almost ejected from Sunday's game against the Yomiuri Giants for questioning a call made by the first base umpire on a ball he hit down the right field line in the 9th.

With a runner on first and no out, Murton hit the ball down the right field line that appeared to hit the foul pole.  The first base ump called the ball foul.  Murton could not understand why the umpires were not going to check the replay.  He looked over to the first base ump and pointed to both his eyes with his fingers.

The first base ump saw this and started walking toward Murton.  Yutaka Wada jumped out of the dugout and managed to stop the first base ump from getting any closer to Murton.  The umpiring crew deliberated the call and decided to check the replays.  The call ended up standing.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/9/2013

In reading other reports, it appears the Tigers originally argued whether or not the ball went fair or foul.  The rule books leave that up to the umpires.  When the Tigers re-argued the call (the second time Wada ran onto the field), they argued whether or not it was a home run.  The umpires can only turn to video replay on questionable home run calls.  So it was apparently an issue of semantics.

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[9/7/2013] Hanshin Tigers: Shinjiro Hiyama planning to retire at the end of the season

by on Sep.07, 2013 @ 11:49 am, under NPB
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The media learned today that forty-four-year-old Shinjiro Hiyama is planning to retire at the end of the season.  He could hold a press conference later today to make it official.

According to a separate Nikkan Sports report, Hiyama wanted to continue his career for as long as possible, but not if it meant signing with another team.  After the Tigers front office decided last month to begin moving toward youth, he felt it might be time to call it quits.  After retirement, he plans to send time as a baseball analyst studying the finer aspects of the game.

Source: Sponichi 9/7/2013, Nikkan Sports 9/7/2013, Nikkan Sports 9/7/2013

UPDATE 9/8 @ 3:05am -

Hiyama held a press conference at a hotel in Nishinomiya, Hyogo on Saturday to formally announce his retirement.  Daily Sports and the official team site have posted fairly in-depth portions of his press conference.  Since they are a bit long, I will focus on the shorter versions available.

You spent the most amount of time in the organization.

It was an interesting journey.  I came up through Ni-gun, got to bat clean-up, worked as chief player rep, won pennants, and got to experience what it was like to be a pinch-hitter.  I feel as though I have experienced enough to cover a number of lifetimes.

What do you think of the cheers of support when you get a pinch at bat?

It makes me want to succeed at my job.  Not everyone can experience those cheers.  I am a lucky guy.

Are you running out of juice?

I was using situational fielding practice as a tool to gauge my levels and there were times I sat out the sessions because I did not feel right.  There was no pain in my body.  A part of me could not understand that and asked myself, "What do you think you are doing?"

What is your best memory?

The junior all-star game during my second year, when I invited both my parents, hit a home run, and won the MVP.  When I saw my parents' faces after the game, I felt glad I turned pro.

Do you have any regrets?

Not winning a Nippon Series.  As a professional baseball player, I will do my best until the very end, when all possibilities are exhausted.

Source: Sponichi 9/7/2013

The Tigers' PR department released the following statement made by team owner Shinya Sakai:

A Hanshin lifer for twenty-two years.  It was a long career.  Both as a central team figure and as a player off the bench, he was a valuable player that impressed the fans with his steadfast play on the field.  He batted clean-up in 2003 and as chief player rep, helped bring the team together for a league pennant.  In his later years, he became the go to guy off the bench and came through for the cheering fans with his ability to come through with big hits.  I would like to thank him for all his work from the bottom of my heart.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/7/2013

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[8/24/2013] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Aug.24, 2013 @ 11:55 pm, under NPB
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Shinjiro Hiyama recorded a pinch-hit two-run double in Friday's game against the Chunichi Dragons and moved into sole possession of second on the all-time list with 107 pinch-hit RBIs.

Source: Daily Sports 8/24/2013

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From Friday's game against the Chuichi Dragons:

Matt Murton hit a fly ball to right in the 3rd inning.  Ryosuke Hirata tracked the ball to the wall, leaped, and gloved it.  The first base umpire thought Hirata made a clean catch, but TV replays showed the ball bouncing off the wall just before landing in the glove.

Unhappy with the call, Yutaka Wada jumped out of the dugout to state his case.  He was tossed when he failed to walk away from the argument before his five minutes were up.

Murton was surprised at the call, but later told reporters that "...anyone can make a mistake.  But we won.  That was the most important thing."

Team official Keiichiro Yotsufuji was not as understanding and said, "According to the rules, decisions cannot be reversed, but it is not possible for us to accept that call.  If that call was not made, the manager never would have been ejected."

Wada gathered the players after the game and thanked them for the victory.

The head umpire seemingly admitted to the error when he said that "truth is not always reality."

The Tigers informed the media today that they filed a request with the Central League office asking that umpires work on their skills.

This was Wada's first ejection as a manager.

Source: Sanspo 8/24/2013, Sponichi 8/24/2013, Sponichi 8/24/2013,  Sponichi 8/24/2013Sponichi 8/24/2013

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Hanshin fans sitting in the left field stands were not happy when Ryosuke Hirata hit his home run in the 4th inning.  The fan that caught the ball thew it back onto the field in protest and almost hit Murton (the ball may have actually grazed his head).  Surprised, and perhaps alarmed, he called for a time out.  The umpires then made an announcement asking fans to refrain from throwing things onto the field.

"I think the fans were frustrated.  I can understand that, but that was a dangerous thing to do.  They have to be careful," said Murton.

Source: Sanspo 8/24/2013, Sponichi 8/27/2013

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Free Agent News and Notes: November 5, 2012

by on Nov.05, 2012 @ 11:24 pm, under NPB
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Takeshi Hidaka and Hayato Terahara submitted paperwork to the Orix Buffaloes to exercise their options.  Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2012

The Tigers could offer Hidaka a two-year deal.  Source: Sanspo 11/5/2012

The Hawks are interested in Terahara.  Source: Sponichi 11/5/2012

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Toshiaki Imae (LOT) has not yet decided what he wants to do with his domestic FA option.  He is expected to make a decision soon.  Source: Sanspo 11/5/2012

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Kenta Asakura (CHU) has not yet decided.  Source: Sports Hochi Osaka 11/5/2012

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There may be a gap in between what the Keiichi Hirano wants and what the Hanshin Tigers are willing to give.  Source: Sanspo 11/5/2012

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Kyuji Fujikawa (HAN) is in Los Angeles.  His rep in Japan is expected to submit the necessary international FA option paperwork.  The Angels, Rangers, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks are among teams that are said to be interested in Fujikawa.  Source: Sanspo 11/5/2012, Sponichi 11/5/2012

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Shinjiro Hiyama (international), Yuya Ando (domestic), and Ryo Asai (domestic) will not be exercising their FA options and will remain with the Hanshin Tigers.  Source: Sponichi 11/5/2012

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Hanshin Tigers: Murton, Messenger, Standrige, Brazell, Hiyama [9/15/2012]

by on Sep.16, 2012 @ 12:11 am, under NPB
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Nikkan Sports is reporting that the Tigers have an interest in bringing Matt Murton, Randy Messenger, Jason Standridge back for the 2013 season.  Both Messenger and Standridge have pitched well this season and are considered usable parts for the next season.  Murton did experience some problems this season, but the team likes his past track history and they feel he is a good candidate to bounce back next year.  They also see him as a possible replacement for Tomoaki Kanemoto in left.

The jury is still out on Craig Brazell.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/15/2012

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Nikkan Sports is also reporting that the team will most likely bring Shinjiro Hiyama back next year.  Source: Nikkan Sports 9/15/2012

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Hanshin Tigers: March 23, 2012

by on Mar.23, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Matt Murton started outdoor workouts at Naruohama today -- he ran eight fifty-meters at about sixty to seventy percent and played catch for about ten minutes at a max distance of around sixty meters.

"I am of course not at one-hundred percent on running, but [I am ok at about what I did today].  I am close to one-hundred percent on hitting and throwing," said Murton.

On Thursday, Murton worked out for about six hours -- twenty practice swings, twenty swings off a tee, twenty soft-toss, catch for about ten minutes at a distance of about eighteen meters.

If everything goes well, Murton could be ready for the Koshien home opener on April 6 (vs Yomiuri).

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Shinjiro Hiyama's workouts on Thursday included playing catch, taking fielding practice in the outfield, and batting practice (twenty swings each against left-handed and right-handed pitchers).

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Both Takahiro Arai and Takashi Toritani ran back and forth in the outfield (seven round-trips, so seven from left to right and seven from right to left) while shagging fly balls on Thursday.

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Two Yutaka Wada lunch boxes were unveiled at Kyocera Dome on Thursday.

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Hanshin Tigers: March 22, 2012

by on Mar.23, 2012 @ 4:17 am, under NPB
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Thursday's Ni-gun game against Chunichi at Nagoya (Hanshin 3 - Chunichi 0): Ikketsu Sho started the game and tossed seven shutout innings while allowing one hits and walking three. [Daily Sports]

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Takahiro Arai shagged fly balls in the outfield during practice at Kyocera Dome on Thursday.

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Shinjiro Hiyama rejoined the Ichi-gun team for practices on Thursday.

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Matt Murton started taking batting practice on Thursday at Naruohama -- he hit twenty pitches off a tee and twenty pitches during soft-toss.  He also played catch for about ten minutes at a max length of around eighteen meters.

On Wednesday, Murton told reporters he wanted to try his best to make it back in time for the start of the regular season.

"I do not think I am as far away from my best condition as many of you may feel," said Murton to reporters.  "I got hurt on the 16th and there was still two weeks [at that point].  Even if I am not at 100%, as long as there is a possibility, I would like to try for opening day.  The worst thing would be for me to rush and make things worse.  I want to avoid that.  So I need to work through this without rushing, but that does not change my goal for making opening day."

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During pre-game fielding practice on Wednesday, the Tigers had Ryota Arai, Yamato, Kohei Shibata, 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito, and Craig Brazell out in right.  Kenji Jojima was also seen taking over in left during situational fielding practice.

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The Tigers announced on Thursday that they will be holding various events for fans during eleven Ni-gun games taking place at Koshien Stadium this season.

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Hanshin Tigers: March 20, 2012

by on Mar.20, 2012 @ 11:58 pm, under NPB
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Today's Ni-gun game against the Chunichi Dragons, at Nagoya Stadium: Hirokazu Shiranita started the game and tossed six shutout innings while allowing three hits.  He also did not walk anyone and topped out at 144km/h. [Daily Sports] ... Shinjiro Hiyama entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning and hit an infield single.  He was immediately replaced by a pinch-runner. [Daily Sports]

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The Tigers announced today that both Yasutomo Kubo and Kazuya Tsutsui contracted the flu.

On Monday, the players, coaches, and staff wore surgical masks as they traveled to Takamatsu.

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Sanspo reports that Tomoaki Kanemoto will make the opening day line-up in left, batting sixth.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito will most likely be with the Ichi-gun team for the remaining exhibition games.

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Akihito Fujii is hoping to play in as many remaining pre-season games as possible in order to shake off the rust.

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Sanspo Tigers Promise: Daiki Enokida is aiming to drop his road ERA to 2.20 or better this season (down from 4.40 last year). If Enokida can not make good on his promise, he will play catch with with a Sanspo reader.

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Hanshin Tigers: March 19, 2012

by on Mar.19, 2012 @ 11:56 pm, under NPB
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Shinjiro Hiyama is scheduled to travel with the Ni-gun team on their three-game road trip against Chunichi that begins on Tuesday.

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Minoru Iwata will likely pitch in one more game before the start of the regular season: against the Seattle Mariners on March 25.

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The Tigers decided to send Takashi Shimizu to Ni-gun on Sunday to make room for Akihito Fujii.

Fujii worked out at Naruohama before heading to Marugame, Kagawa today.  He is slated to play in tomorrow's exhibition game against the Hiroshima Carp.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto temporarily returned to Osaka on Saturday and worked out at Koshien on Sunday.  He will rejoin the Ichi-gun team on Wednesday. 

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