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[3/20/2014] Chunichi Dragons sign Takeshi Yamasaki to one-game contract

by on Mar.20, 2014 @ 9:06 pm, under NPB
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The Chunichi Dragons held a press conference for Takeshi Yamasaki at Nagoya Dome today.  Yamasaki signed a one-game contract that will be effective for his retirement game on Friday.  He has been assigned the number twenty-two.

Source: official announcement

Sanspo has posted portions of Yamasaki's interaction with the media during the press conference.

Yamasaki: It makes me greatly happy for a chance to take the field at Nagoya Dome for one last time.  This will be my last day in the sun.  I hope to enjoy it.

Media: How were contract negotiations?

Yamasaki: Just like a normal player, I used my stamp to seal the deal.  There were times during my twenty-seven-year career when I stamped contracts even though I wasn't satisfied, but I was satisfied this time.

Team Representative Kazuo Nishiyama: We will have Yamasaki play for us for one day.  He will be paid on a pro-rated basis, according to the Baseball Agreement.

Media: What will your day be like tomorrow (March 21)?

Yamasaki: I will speak to Motonobu Tanishige tomorrow about how he plans to use me.  I would like at least one at bat, if possible.

Media: What would you like to do for the fans?

Yamasaki: I have always swung the bat hard so I would like to take big cuts in front of everyone.

Media: Kenshin Kawakami was re-signed to a contract, did you think that might happen...

Yamasaki: Even if they offered, I would turn them down.  The Dragons are now led by Tanishige and there are a lot of new guys coming up.  I want to see them create a new Dragons team.  I would also like to do my part as a former player by creating some excitement.  Even if I wanted [to return], my body wouldn't let me.

Media: What are your thoughts on the current state of the the Dragons right now?

Yamasaki: I predict them to finish in second.  There is one really good team [in the Central League].  The other five all have a shot at finishing in the top three.  The Dragons have a track-record and know how to win.  Those kinds of things sink into players and become a strength.  Weak teams don't have that.  Rakuten won it all last year and there was a lot of celebrating.  I hope Chunichi can win it this year and bring those celebrations to Central Japan.

Source: Sanspo 3/20/2014

According to Tokyo Sports, Yamasaki's one-game salary might be based on a contract worth 4.4 million yen.  Pro-rated, he might get paid anywhere from 10,000 yen to 30,000 yen (closer to the lower number if he agreed to just March 21, closer to the high number if he agreed to March 20 and 21).  The one-game contract is an NPB first and might pave the way for additional cases in the future.  Additionally, the previous front office reportedly promised to hold a retirement game for Yamasaki during the exhibition game season.

Source: Tokyo Sports 3/20/2014

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[3/18/2014] Chunichi to sign Takeshi Yamasaki to one-day contract for retirement game

by on Mar.18, 2014 @ 10:06 pm, under NPB
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Yamasaki Retirement Game

The Chunichi Dragons announced that they will sign Takeshi Yamasaki (45) to a "one-day contract" so that he can participate in a retirement game on the 21st (vs Rakuten at Nagoya Dome).  The organization will hold a press conference for Yamasaki on Thursday.

Chunichi released the following comment from Yamasaki: "This will really be the last time.  I would like to enjoy this game with the fans.  I want to have fun before I take the uniform off."

Source: Sanpso 3/18/2014, Sponichi 3/18/2014, Nikkan Sports 3/18/2014

Photo taken from official Chunichi website.

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[10/5/2013] Chunichi Dragons: Takeshi Yamasaki’s retirement ceremony

by on Oct.05, 2013 @ 11:28 pm, under NPB
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The Chunichi Dragons held a retirement ceremony for Takeshi Yamasaki after tonight's game against the Yokohama Bay Stars at Nagoya Dome.

His retirement speech, as posted by Nikkan Sports:

First, I want to thank the Chunichi Dragons organization, Morimichi Takagi, and my teammates for giving me these ceremony.

My last day as a professional baseball player has finally arrived.  Before the start of today's game, I felt I could still keep playing.  But having the opportunity to play a full game today, I can honestly say that I am exhausted.  I feel I gained closure by playing today.  I am now ok with retiring.  Thank you.

I joined the Chunichi Dragons when I was eighteen.  For nine years I toiled at the bottom.  Things started to turn around a little in my tenth year.  But it was a rocky time.  I played for three organizations and was let go twice.  A lot of things have happened, but I feel it was your cheering that allowed me to make it here today.  Thank you.

Two major events happened during my career.  The first was returning to the Dragons after ten years and being able to continue my career here.

The other was the Tohoku earthquake that took place two and a half years ago.  I was with the Rakuten Eagles at the time.  Survivors of the disaster taught me about living and never giving up.  I would like to take this moment to thank the people of Tohoku.  Thank you.

And the Dragons unfortunately finished without a spot in the playoffs for the first time in twelve years.  We let the fans down and I feel really bad about that.  But I think my teammates here, they will practice hard during the fall and figure out what went wrong this year.  They will return strong.  Please look forward to that.

To the Dragons' players, please play for as long as you can.  Masahiro Yamamoto is a teammate on the Dragons.  I did not want to lose out to him, but I did.  I hope all my younger teammates will look to him as someone they should strive to become and ultimately surpass.  I am cheering for you.

Finally, I want to thank my parents for giving me this strong body that allowed me to play for twenty-seven years without any major injuries.  To my family and to those that have been a part of my life, thank very much.  The next stage of my life begins tomorrow.  I would like to do what I can to help give back to the Dragons and to pro baseball.

Thank you for today.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/5/2013

A few other notes:

  • Yamasaki's eldest son, Daiki, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • Yamasaki got the start at first and batted fourth.
  • He went 1-for-5: F7, 1B8, F7, F9, Ks.
  • He was tossed into the air seven times.

Source: Daily Sports 10/5/2013, Sponichi 10/5/2013

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[7/29/2013] Chunichi Dragons: Takeshi Yamasaki to retire after the season

by on Jul.29, 2013 @ 3:27 pm, under NPB
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Takeshi Yamasaki held a press conference in Nagoya today and formally announced that he planned to retire at the end of the season.

"A number of reports have been published.  I have decided to retire at the end of the season," said Yamasaki.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/29/2013


UPDATE 7/30 @ 5:02am -

Sports Hochi has posted a portion of the Q&A session with media.

Your reason for retiring.

Since about Inter-league, I started thinking that I needed to make some sort of decision if I were demoted to Ni-gun.  I put everything on the line for my career, that was the line.  And that is when I was demoted to Ni-gun.  I told [Morimichi] Takagi and the organization I wanted to take the uniform off.

What are your thoughts now?

I feel great, I feel no pain.  I still feel like I can play, like I can play a few more years.  I cannot say I feel great about things, but I do want to give the young Dragons a dream to strive for.  I do feel a little disappointed about having to retire before one of the guys I look up to, Masahiro Yamamoto.

On looking back over your career.

I think I was always one or two things away from being a complete man.  I could not reach the 2,000-hit milestone.  I had set my sights on passing [Shigeo] Nagashima's 444 home runs and the 2,000-hit milestone, but I could not do it.  If I was disobedient and argued with managers.  I think if I had acted more like an adult, I would have made the 2,000-hit milestone.  I do feel pride in having a twenty-seven year career.

Do you have any desire to coach?

That is not something I can decide, but I do have aspirations to coach younger players.  I just want to give back to baseball.

Do you have anything you want to tell you Tohoku fans?

I started hating baseball during my time with Orix.  To the point where I thought I may never touch another ball or swing another bat.  But I was able to play for a new team.  I was even encouraged during my visits [to areas that were hit by the earthquake].  I only have feelings of appreciation.

Source: Sports Hochi 7/29/2013

UPDATE 7/30 @ 7:29am -

Yamasaki has reportedly been added to the Dragons' list of manager candidates for the 2014 season.

Source: Sports Hochi 7/30/2013

UPDATE 7/30 @ 7:46am -

Sports Hochi has posted a few more bits from Monday's Q&A with the media:

How did your family react when you told them you were going to retire?

I told my mom over the phone.  It felt a little heavy when she said, "You had a nice career."  I feel a bad that she loses something to look forward to.  My son was the most disappointed.  My daughter made fun of me, called me an unemployed person.  But when I first told her about it, she would not talk to me.  Perhaps it made her get a little emotional.

Any memories of your career that stand out?

I was the happiest when I got another chance to wear a Dragons uniform after playing for Rakuten.  It was something I was not expecting.  It was a miracle.

Your are close to Masahiro Yamamoto, both on and off the field.  Did you discuss the decision with him?

He said, "No need to quit, you've still got some years left in you!"  I did not want to quit with Yamamoto-san.  I am a bigger star, but more people like to talk about him.  If we were to quit at the same time, he would get all the coverage (laughter).  I think he can play until he is fifty.  I will leave it to Yamamoto-san.

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[7/28/2013] Chunichi Dragons: Takeshi Yamasaki to retire at the end of the season

by on Jul.28, 2013 @ 1:50 pm, under NPB
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A team official told reporters on Saturday that forty-four-year-old Takeshi Yamasaki is planning to retire at the end of the season.  When the veteran was asked of the news at Nagoya Stadium today, he replied, "I have been playing baseball long enough to know what it means if you are not on the active roster at this time of year.  I need to consider my options.  I will let everyone know what I am feeling on the 29th."

Yamasaki was taken off the active roster on Saturday and said to Sports Hochi reporters, "I am not satisfied with my numbers.  I would like to finish out my contact of 144 games.  But, results are everything and if I am at Ni-gun at this time of year, it means I am at a point where I have to think [about my future].  I will think about this carefully."

A press conference is scheduled for Monday.

Source: Daily Sports 7/28/2013Daily Sports 7/28/2013, Sports Hochi 7/28/2013, Sports Hochi 7/28/2013

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Chunichi Dragons discuss retirement with Yamamoto, Kawakami, Yamasaki, Iwase

by on Nov.02, 2012 @ 4:32 pm, under NPB
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Masahiro Yamamoto (47), Takeshi Yamasaki (43), Hitoki Iwase (37), and Kenshin Kawakami (37) are all planning to continue their active careers next season.  The media learned on Monday that the Chunichi Dragons met all four and broached the topic of retirement.

Team president Katsuhiko Sakai, team rep Ryohei Sato, and chief of team developement Takashi Ide met each of the players at a hotel in Nagoya on October 31.  They pushed each to continue playing in 2013.  They also said they planned to approach each of them during the season next year to discuss their future plans.

Said Sato, "Retirement did come up.  We asked what they thought about it.  We want them to consider becoming coaches at some point."

Bottom line, it seems the Dragons do not want to dance around the issue and want to keep things open.

Yamamoto and Yamasaki were uncertain about their futures before they decided to commit to 2013.  The other two are still probably a couple years away from retirement: Iwase led the league in saves this year and Kawakami just finished year one of his NPB comeback.

Source: Sponichi 11/2/2012, Sports Hochi Osaka 11/2/2012


UPDATE @ 10:15pm - Nikkan Sports has a quote from Sato that explains what the Dragons are trying to do.

"We cannot just think a player's career is over and assume they know what we are thinking.  It also is not good for the player to be in a situation where they might not know if it is ok for them to stick around or they are not sure about what to do.  I just said that beginning next year, we should speak openly about these things and not assume/suspect what the other is thinking."

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/2/2012

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Sports Hochi: Chunichi Dragon Takeshi Yamasaki will play in 2013

by on Nov.01, 2012 @ 12:48 pm, under NPB
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According to Sports Hochi, forty-three-year-old Takeshi Yamasaki spoke to team officials on Wednesday and finalized his decision to put off retirement for at least one more season.  According to the report, Yamasaki decided to return next season after hearing about the team's plans for the future.

Yamasaki is expected to inform everyone of his decision during a team meeting at Nagoya Dome today.

Source: Sports Hochi 11/1/2012


UPDATE @ 1:38pm - Yamasaki met with team president Katsuhiko Sakai, team rep Ryohei Sato, and chief of team developement Takashi Ide at a hotel in Nagoya for about an hour.  Source: Daily Sports 11/1/2012

UPDATE @ 5:00pm - Yamasaki attended a full-team meeting at Nogoya Dome today and later held a press conference to officially announce that he will play in 2013.  Source: Nikkan Sports 11/1/2012

UPDATE 11/2 @ 4:10pm - Yamasaki is not looking to drag out his career.  He hinted that next season could be his last.  Source: Sports Hochi Osaka 11/2/2012

Chunichi Dragons: Takeshi Yamasaki taken off active roster with finger fracture

by on Sep.04, 2012 @ 7:31 pm, under NPB
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Takeshi Yamasaki was taken off the active roster today after he was diagnosed with a fracture in his left ring finger.

Yamasaki suffered the injury when he caught a baseball that was hit by Takashi Toritani during a game against the Hanshin Tigers on August 22 -- the ball likely hit the ring finger directly.  The injury was originally thought to be a jammed finger, but he was taken to a hospital for an evaluation on Monday because the pain was not subsiding.

The finger will be immobilized for a week to ten days.  During this time, Yamasaki will continue his workouts at Nagoya Stadium.  His goal will be to play in a Ni-gun rehab game on September 21.

Source: Daily Sports 9/4/2012, Sponichi 9/4/2012

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Chunichi Dragons: Masahiko Morino out with minor contusion on right abdominal oblique muscle

by on Apr.25, 2012 @ 4:50 pm, under NPB
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Roster movesTakeshi Yamasaki and Kei Nomoto were taken off the active roster today because they were diagnosed with influenza B.  And Masahiko Morino was taken off the active roster after he was diagnosed with a minor contusion on his right abdominal oblique muscle.  There is currently no timetable on his return.

Tony Blanco and Victor Diaz were called up to fill the open spots.

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Chunichi Dragons: March 24, 2012

by on Mar.24, 2012 @ 11:52 pm, under NPB
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The Dragons announced today that Kazuki Yoshimi will donate 10,000 yen for every inning he pitches this season to a foundation that helps kids that lost parents during the Tohoku Earthquake.  He also plans to raise money by holding a charity auction, via his official blog.


Kenshin Kawakami will likely make his first regular season start on March 31 against the Hiroshima Carp (Nagoya Dome).


Sanspo wonders what kind of car Takeshi Yamasaki might buy during the next off-season.  They also list out his past off-season purchases:

2006 - Ferrari 512M (~23M yen)
2007 - Lamborghini Murcielago (~35M yen)
2011 - Lamborghini Aventador (30M~40M yen)

And Sponichi notes that if Yamasaki finishes exhibition play leading the league in homers, he will be the first forty or over player to do so since Katsuya Nomura led the league with with five in 1975 at the age of forty.


Daola successfully turned a back-flip, with a twist, after the 7th inning today.

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