Koji Uehara, 2.03 ERA, A-, Other than being a little home run prone, the righty has exceeded all expectations with his effectiveness and durability.
The Japanese media approached former Hanshin Tiger Ryan Vogelsong during the All-Star game. Some of his comments:
I'd like to visit Japan with my wife in order to eat some Kobe beef. ... The Koshien fans are the best in the world and I'm grateful for all their support. The All-Star game has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.
Vogelsong still keeps in touch with his old teammate, Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi.
Former Rakuten Eagle Todd Linden has been playing well with the Edmonton Capitals.
He was also named the North American League's Player of the Week on June 27th. A snip:
Linden, a native of Edmonds, Washington, recorded 13 hits in 28 at-bats last week for a .464 batting average. Six of those 13 hits were for extra bases as well, including three doubles, one triple and two home runs. Linden also drove in 12 runs, scored nine times and stole three bases.
Linden had a fairly solid first year with the Eagles (73 G, 83-for-284, .291/.366/.496), but struggled in his second season (53 G, 30-for-162, .185/.291/.309), partly due to thumb injury.
Jose Bautista (TOR) spoke to Daily Sports reporters about how he almost signed with the Hanshin Tigers during the 2008 off-season.
I got a call from my agent and we spoke about playing in Japan. There was a chance. ... [I was also a little worried because] if you can't play well in Japan, your chances to return to the Majors diminishes. But I got lucky with my current team giving me an offer.
The Tigers ended up signing Kevin Mench over Bautista.