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Sledge’s Season with Yokohama Ends, Returns to U.S.

» 16 September 2011 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

On Thursday, it was reported that Termell Sledge (34) has left Yokohama to return to the U.S.

Sledge injured his hip against Hanshin on August 20th, and although he made a brief return to the lineup in September, has decided to officially pull himself for the remainder of the season. This marks the end of the two-year deal Sledge signed with Yokohama after spending two seasons with Nippon Ham.

Injuries limited him to just 95 games this season and he managed only a .260/.316/.481 line, dropping his OPS below .800 for the first time in his NPB career. Though Sledge has stated that he would like to return to Yokohama, his 2011 performance and salary (roughly $2 million) makes it unlikely he will rejoin the BayStars next year.

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Matsui Not Done Yet

» 24 June 2011 » In mlb, nichibei » Comments Off

Coming into a June 14th series with the Kansas City Royals, it looked like the end might be near for Hideki Matsui. At 37, Matsui is essentially a one-trick pony, but his season line entering the Kansas City series was a lame .216/.268/.332, with just four home runs. The man he replaced in Oakland, Jack Cust, was even out performing him in Seattle (though his .684 OPS is equally unimpressive). Since then Matsui has shown signs of life — .261/.471/.522 in 8 games, and even seeing some time in the field during interleague play.

  • On his homer against KC on 6/16: “It was an easy fastball on the inside of the plate. I hit it just about perfectly. Would’ve liked to have hit it a bit further.”
  • On the feeling around the A’s clubhouse: “We’re feeling better — the team as a whole, I think, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do from here on.”
  • On being installed in the 3rd spot int he order: “Of course I need to be responsible and properly prepare myself. I just want to put out some results and lead this team to victory.”

Matsui is also pursuing his 500th professional home run. He needs only one more to reach the mark, and jokingly told reporters that it “will probably take another month.”

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Friday MLB Updates

» 22 April 2011 » In mlb » 4 Comments

An brief update on some Major Leaguers as we head into the weekend.

  • Kenshin Kawakami, who had been assigned to AA to begin the season, will be placed on the DL with right shoulder pain. This comes on the heels of his first 2011 win with the Mississippi Braves.
  • Following the evaluation of x-ray results on Tuesday, the Twins’ Tsuyoshi Nishioka plans to be back on the field “by mid-May, at the earliest.” Nishioka is currently undergoing rehabilitation following an injury suffered in a game versus the Yankees on April 7th.
  • Ryota Igarashi said that the New York MetsĀ  “have no leader” after a frustrating loss against the Astros on Monday.

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MLB Updates: Spring Training Winds Down

» 25 March 2011 » In mlb » 1 Comment

A few updates from Japan as MLB players are finishing up spring training and preparing for Opening Day.

  • For those who haven’t been following the Twins this spring, MLB rookie Tsuyoshi Nishioka has hit in 12 straight spring training games. “It’s important (for me) to get used to being tired,” Nishioka told reporters following his first day game after a night game. He will also start on the 25th against the Orioles.
  • Kenshin Kawakami, a trade candidate for what seems like ages, will try to impress in hisĀ last spring training appearance for the Braves on March 27th. Kawakami allowed 3 runs (1 earned) in 3 innings in his first spring start this week.
  • Meanwhile in Arizona, the Dodgers’ Hiroku Kuroda says he’s not bothered by his spring training results. “I’ve come this far without getting hurt, and that’s the most important thing.” Kuroda, who has been working on a curve ball this spring and currently sports a 5.78 ERA, will make his first regular season start against the Giants on April 3rd.
  • Koji Uehara returned to action earlier this week in a minor league game, pitching a scoreless inning with one strikeout. Uehara has battled elbow issues this spring but remains upbeat. “As long as my elbow and my face are in good shape, I’m okay.” The Orioles’ reliever was clocked at 88 mph in his minor league appearance, but assured reporters he was only throwing “at 70 or 80 percent…I feel great.”
  • Hisanori Takahashi continues to dazzle, having allowed no runs over 11 innings in relief. He’ll be the lefty set up man in the Angels’ bullpen to start the year. Regarding the start of the regular season, Takahashi says, “I don’t need to change anything.”
  • Hideki Matsui‘s statement on Thursday that, “My job is the DH. More than defending, I’ve got to hit,” reinforces the fact that he is no longer a reliable outfield option. Despite a spring batting average that has sunk to .125, Matsui told reporters, “It’s no problem. Everyone starts out hitting .000 on opening day.”

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MLB Updates: Matsui, Matsuzaka, Uehara

» 16 March 2011 » In mlb » 1 Comment

Editors note: most of this was drafted last week, prior to the earthquake and tsunami.

With MLB spring training in full swing, here are updates on some notable Japanese names.

  • Hideki Matsui is unfazed by his slow spring training start. Following an 0-3 showing against the Royals last Thursday, the Athletics’ DH is now just 1-17 this spring. Matsui commented, “It’s not too bad for practice. But there’s still a difference between practice and a real game.” After the game, Matsui is reported to have spent an extra 30 minutes doing soft toss batting practice.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka isn’t taking things so lightly, though. “If you can’t put what you do in practice into a game, it’s meaningless. We’re still in spring training so I wouldn’t worry that much, but I don’t feel good.” Matsuzaka gave up 5 hits and 5 runs last week against the Rays, but bounced back with five scoreless innings in his latest start.
  • After receiving a cortisone injection in his right elbow last week, Orioles reliever Koji Uehara is set to begin light throwing today. To be ready for the regular season, Uehara says he “needs 5 or 6 games, either in spring training or in the minors.”

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