NPB Bullet Points: News & Retirements
(insert witty introduction here)
- Chihiro Kaneko has gotten himself in to the mix for the Pacific League’s wins title, with a career-best personal 10-game winning streak. Kaneko is now 14-7 on the season. He also has six shutouts.
- The Giants have slumped to sub-.500 records in each of the last two months, and it’s showing on Tatsunori Hara’s face.
- Craig Brazell cranked out his 40th bomb of the season the other day, becoming the first Hanshin foreigner to since Randy Bass back in ’86.
- Orix righty Kazuki Kondo pitched a 144-pitch complete game loss on the 1st… and then got sent down. I didn’t see the game, but it must have been a save-the-bullpen kind of effort, as Kondo had allowed seven runs by the third inning.
- Nippon Ham lefty Masaru Takeda has a personal seven-game winning streak going, and leads the Fighters with 12 wins.
- Rakuten ace Masahiro Tanaka is out a minimum of three weeks with a torn pectoral muscle, and with Rakuten languishing in last place, it’s looking unlikely that he’ll pitch again this year.
- At least one MLB club was seen watching lefty Daiki Uekida’s September 2 outing for Tokyo Gas of the Industrial Leagues. I haven’t seen Uekida but at first glance he looks like a Hisanori Takahashi type.
- Today’s Japanese word: moudasho (mo-da-sho, 猛打賞), which means three hits in one game. An example: Lotte shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka has 22 moudasho games this season, a club record. Ichiro, of course, holds the NPB record with 26. With 21 team games left in the season, Nishioka has a shot at Ichiro’s record if he gets hot.
- Yakult is looking into re-acquiring Akinori Iwamura. Pittsburgh is set to move on from Aki after this season, and I believe Yakult still controls his NPB rights.
- Longtime Hanshin catcher Akihiro Yano is calling it a career at the end of the season. Something of a late-bloomer, Yano made seven All-Star appearances in his 20-year career and was the runner-up for the 2003 MVP.
- Orix ni-gun infielder Masahiro Nagata has already retired, according to a team announcement from August 31. Nagata was once a pretty decent prospect, but never made an impact at the top level.
- Cuban pitcher Pedro Lazo is also retiring. I was planning on listing him as a dark horse to move to Japan next season, as Omar Linares and Orestes Kindelan did at the end of their careers.