Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa apologizes for “secret press conference”; “unexpected rival” prevents him from exercising FA to revive his career next season. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa apologizes for “secret press conference”; “unexpected rival” prevents him from exercising FA to revive his career next season.

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The good-natured character has gone out of the picture, and he attended the press conference with a mysterious expression on his face.

Hotaka Yamakawa, 31, of the Seibu baseball team, who has been suspended indefinitely from official games due to trouble with a female acquaintance, held a press conference at his home base, the Beruna Dome, on October 5.

Yamakawa opened his mouth in front of the press for the first time since the trouble was revealed in May,

I sincerely apologize for the trouble I have caused to the fans, the baseball team, and everyone else due to my negligence in my personal life. I am truly sorry. I cannot regret it enough that I was not able to be an asset to the team. I am also very sorry for the trouble I have caused my wife and children. From now on, I will be aware of myself as a professional baseball player and as a father, and I will earn their trust and become a player they can support. I am truly sorry for what happened.

He bowed his head.

The team announced that Yamakawa would hold a press conference on the morning of the press conference. Moreover, only a limited number of media, such as sports newspapers, were notified. They must have thought it would be a problem if the weekly magazines came and asked tough questions. During the 30-minute press conference, it was impressive to see his eyes watering a little when asked about his children and wife.

This press conference was held in response to the baseball team’s announcement that Yamakawa would participate in the Miyazaki Phoenix League, an autumn educational league for mainly young players, to be held from October 9 to 30. With the situation moving forward, including the fact that his trouble with a female acquaintance has been dropped and his participation in the Phoenix League has been approved, the focus of attention is on whether Yamakawa will exercise his domestic free agent (FA) rights.

When asked by a reporter about exercising his FA rights, Yamakawa said, “Of course, I have to think about it carefully,” without denying or confirming the question. Until the trouble with a woman acquaintance surfaced, However, Sadaharu Oh, 83, chairman of the SoftBank baseball team, was furious about the trouble and called it quits. However, it is a fact that Yamakawa is a talented player who has been selected for the WBC team. There is no doubt that he is quite an attractive player for a baseball team that wants a right-handed long-range gunner. He should be a good fit for Chunichi and DeNA.

However, a rival has now emerged.

Sho Nakata, 34, of the Giants. He signed a three-year contract with the Giants last offseason, but it includes an opt-out clause that allows him to review it every year and exercise his overseas FA rights. Due to the conversion of Yuto Sakamoto (34) to third base, who protects the base hitters, Kazuma Okamoto (27) has been moved to first base, and his opportunities have been drastically reduced. Sports Hochi reports that he may seek to move to a new position in search of a place to play an active role, as he will be a tame player at this point.” The media is said to be the “main newspaper of the Giants,” so they must be getting their information from a very close source. The same applies to Nakata.

Yamakawa and Nakata have something in common. Both have been involved in scandals.

Nakata was suspended for assaulting a teammate when he was with Nippon Ham. Former manager Hideki Kuriyama, 62, took him in at the behest of Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, 65, but the “benefactor” retired at the end of this season. Since it is believed that the same right-handed cannon can be signed at a lower salary than Yamakawa, it is likely that some teams will make a move to acquire him. There is a possibility that Chunichi, which is unable to acquire Yamakawa due to a lack of budget, will focus on Nakata alone.

This off-season, the FA front was thought to be “all about Yamakawa,” but an unexpected rival with “scandalous connections” appeared on the scene. Still, will he be able to exercise his dream?

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