Unveiling Professional Baseball’s Untold Stories: Yakult Hunts Culprit, Hanshin’s Rising Star Eyes Majors | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Unveiling Professional Baseball’s Untold Stories: Yakult Hunts Culprit, Hanshin’s Rising Star Eyes Majors

The Giants' new manager Abe, who has a "sporty" spirit, is bringing out young players / Hanshin fans have "good news" after losing 9 straight open games / DeNA's rookie Tadai "has a surprising reputation"! Unexpected Reputation" of DRA1 Rookie Tokai / Softbank's "Yamakawa Backup" by the whole team / "3 Men" to fill the hole of Orix's Yoshinobu Yamamoto / Seibu's Kaino "More useful power than 160 km/h".

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The traditional match between Abe Giants and Okada Hanshin is also a highlight.

I was surprised to see how much the team has changed just by replacing the top management. The player’s voices are loud and their movements are full of energy.

The new Giants manager Shinnosuke Abe (45 ) and his new team are so energetic that the Giant’s sports reporters are all saying the same thing.

Abe-san stands out as a sport guy who uses his knocks to push players around, but he also uses young players properly in matches.In the era of Tatsunori Hara (65), if young players didn’t get results, they would be immediately removed, he was playing in a somewhat erratic manner. However, his original colors were wiped out to the extent that Dave (Hiromoto Okubo, 57), who served as the chief hitting coach in the Hara administration, was removed from the field. The players who were eating it have changed their eye color. Well, the reason Dave was refused coverage was because he was filming on YouTube.

Seiya Matsubara (29), who had been sluggish under the Hara administration, has a batting average of .364 in open games as of March 18th, and Masaya Hagio (23) has come back to life with a batting average of .316. Shunsuke Sasaki (24) also has a dynamic .452. The Giant’s outfield is in the midst of a battle for regular players at a level rarely seen in history, including O’Dore (30), a big shot who boasts 178 shots in the major leagues.

Manager Akifumi Okada (66 ), a wise general does not overlook such changes in his nemesis. He was quick to warn the Giants, who were not his opponents last season, that Hara is nothing to be afraid of, but his own team has gone 1-11, including nine losses in a row, and is in last place in the openers. 

The target of their anxiety is not the batting lineup, which has not been performing well, but rather defensive errors and the unstable pitching staff. The only one who is coming along well is Keito Mombetsu (19 ), who does not hide his expectation that he can win 10 games or so. Junya Nishi (22) and Masataka Oikawa (22 ) have not improved, and Yuta Iwasada (32) and the rest of the relievers have not looked sharp. I am particularly worried about set-up man Kyoki Yuasa (24 ).

Perhaps as compensation for his success in the WBC, Yuasa was unable to work properly last season. Even so, Yuasa’s one pitch that changed the course of the Japan Series gave an impression of his comeback, and Manager Okada also said, “Yuasa is the best new force,” but against the Giants on February 23rd  As soon as they conceded two points in the open game, they were sent to the second team. “It’s not like Okada-san to be a farm player just because he failed once,” the reporters were in an uproar. 

It seems that the WBC appearance was the impetus for the move, but that’s not the kind of thing you say to a player who has only one year’s experience. Okada-san hates childish pitchers who throw their hats in the air when they get hit by pitches. He is probably giving Yuasa a stern talking-to in order to give him a good dressing-down. Of course, it is a reflection of his high expectations.

Although Hanshin is full of gloomy topics, there is some good news. A reporter for the Hanshin Newspaper said, The Hanshin team has brought Japan’s first championship in 38 years.

Okada, the manager who brought the team its first Japanese championship in 38 years, is thought to have reached the end of his two-year contract and is expected to leave the team this season. However, after a year of competition last season, he has been knocking on the door, and there are signs that he is ready to continue. If Allenpa succeeds, it is possible that he will step down after the season is over, but Okada said drunkenly, “I’m under contract for two years, but I don’t know if I’ll end up losing. I can’t end up losing.

In a sense, this may be the biggest reinforcement for the team.

Coach Okada is not worried about the “dark clouds” surrounding the open game.
In contrast to the former manager, Kokubo’s meticulous baseball is also noteworthy.
Nippon Ham manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo (52) is also a highlight, as he looks to compete with huge reinforcements such as Fukuya Yamazaki (31).
Degai is a flamboyant character with a flamboyant hitting form and character. His father is a former Yakult player, and he is not afraid of the professional stage.

The manager was holding his regent’s head in his hands, said a reporter for the sports paper, DeNA, with a wry smile. With two aces, Shota Imanaga (30 ) and Bauer (33 ), who have the ability to finish a complete game, gone, it is natural that manager Daisuke Miura (50) is worried about them.

Bauer is still a ronin, so there is a possibility that he will return to the team. That’s why, in my view, they have acquired five foreign pitchers, including those in training. There was also the incident involving the tongue twister, said sportswriter Yamato Fujimoto.

There are bright spots for the fielders. Rookies are playing an active role, with No. 1 player Takateru Watarai (21) hitting a batting average of .429.

Takateru Watarai has a sweet face and talks well, so he is likely to gain popularity like an idol. But it’s not all good news. That flirtatiousness is starting to get the better of the team. The most important thing to remember is that the best way to get the best out of your team is to be a good team player.

In contrast to DeNA, Nakahi, whose pitching staff is solid, has added depth to its batting lineup with the addition of Sho Nakata (34),Hiroyuki Nakajima (41), and Seiji Uebayashi (28 ). The team’s manager, Kazuyoshi Tachinami, 54, said that the team’s batting lineup has become stronger. 

The fact that Atsushi Kataoka, 54, a close friend of manager Kazuyoshi Tachinami since his days in the PL, became the head coach of the first team this season is also a big factor. Last year, the Ochiai children coaches remained, and there were many players who adored them. That is why there were many conflicts within the team. And yet, the only coach who could speak up to Tatsunami was Kazuhiro Wada (51). This season, however, Tatsunami, who has been criticized by both sides for being a teaching devil, has left most of the coaching to the coaches. I think they have a good shot at making it to the AAA tournament.

Yakult manager Shingo Takatsu (55) has been complaining since before the start of the season, saying things like, The camp’s rating is 50 points, You can’t compete, and There are so many things that can go wrong.

Ace Yasuhiro Ogawa (33) and next ace candidate Yasunobu Okugawa (22) are both doomed for the season opener. Kazuto Taguchi (28), the guardian god, has been on the farm for a long time due to poor conditions, so it’s not surprising (laughs). It seems that the manager is now actively searching for the culprit who has turned the team into a war hospital.

On March 17, Sohma Uchiyama, 21, whose punching power is very appealing, dropped out of the second team due to poor condition.

Despite finishing second last season, Hiroshima has been lacking in topics of conversation. The reason for this is that the team’s main gun, Ryoma Nishikawa (29), left the team as an FA free agent, and the new starters, who have almost entirely replaced him, have not performed well.

Davidson (32) was the team’s home run king, though his batting average was low. Turley (34, now with Rakuten) and Anderson (30) also had decent results as relievers. However, owner Matsuda ordered the team to get better players for manager Takahiro Arai (47). But now, with the current situation, the owner is said to be upset, saying, I’ve done a bad thing.

In order to overcome the tragedy caused by the old man’s love, we hope that Shunsuke Tamura (20 ), a cannon of great promise, will make his breakthrough.

The addition of big players Nakata (right) and Nakajima (left) created a sense of tension in the quiet fielders (Chunichi reporter)
Although he hasn’t won in the past two years due to a right elbow injury, Okugawa has pitched well in open games this season, and fans have been dreaming of Okugawa’s comeback.
Reynolds (33, left) and Shiner (28, right), Hiroshima’s new assistants, both struggled in the opener, batting .208 and .133, respectively.
Yamakawa’s “Dosukoi” is still alive and well in his new home. Yamakawa’s reputation with the reporters is also favorable: “He looks me in the eye, talks slowly, and talks a lot.

When the press asked Yamakawa if he could repeat the 100-run quartet, he nodded his head and replied, “After all, baseball is a game of point scoring. That is how much SoftBank wanted Hotaka Yamakawa (32). The fact that only the Fukuoka media was able to get a press release out in time to avoid being slammed at the press conference, and that Yuki Yanagita (35 ), the leader of the fielding staff, encouraged Yamakawa to give a “dosukoi” performance, were proof of the team’s united support for him.


On February 2, just after he entered camp, Yamakawa hit 75 shots on the long tee. On the following day, he hit 13 shots in 25 swings during free hitting. When the fans, who were most concerned about his performance, applauded, manager Hiroki Kokubo (52) quickly followed up by saying, I think he’s been saved, said a baseball team official.

In the open game, he had two hits in only 22 at-bats. If he can repay the favor with his bat as a member of a strong cleanup lineup with Kensuke Kondoh (30) and Yanagida, the V-recovery will become much more realistic.

For the Orix, it will be essential to contain the Softbank lineup in order to win their fourth straight championship. In this regard, the hole left by absolute ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25 ) is likely to be huge, but the sports paper’s Orix reporter is bullish, saying, There are three post-Yamamoto players.

The first one is Shunpeita Yamashita (21). He has a different engine. He has overwhelming horsepower in the class of Shohei Ohtani (29) and Akinori Sasaki (22), and he is better than Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Ryuhei Sotani (23), last year’s Dora 1 player, is a man of great ability and I am in love with him. He is a southpaw with a fastball over 150 km/h and a well-balanced, calculated pitcher, including his breaking ball. He pitched a scoreless inning in his first appearance in the open game.

Then there is Kyoke Saito (19), a second-year high school graduate. His pitching form and style are so similar to Yoshinobu Yamamoto that he is already being called the second generation. The only thing they don’t resemble each other is their overly reserved personalities. There are other ace candidates besides these three. Ren Mukunoki (24) has a fastball that can reach nearly 155 km/h and is sharp as well. In his rookie year, he pitched no-hit ball until the second death in the ninth inning, and his potential is the best among the Orix pitchers.

As manager Satoshi Nakajima (54) says, Everyone says he’s a pitcher, but he’s more of a hitter, and the pitcher’s kingdom is safe. He is not neglecting to strengthen his batting lineup, such as by acquiring Nishikawa from Hiroshima. It can be said that this season is also the closest to V.

Seibu boasts a starting lineup that is comparable to Orix. Three teams competed to acquire left-handed pitcher Natsuki Takeuchi (22) in last year’s draft. The starting lineup was further strengthened. However, Fujimoto, mentioned earlier, believes that The biggest addition this season was the acquisition of Hiroshi Kaino (27) as compensation for Yamakawa, who transferred to free agency.

With his 160 km/h fastball, he pitched 46 games last season, winning 3-1 with 2 saves and 8 holds. He will fill a weak spot in the Seibu pitching staff, which has had a weakness in its relievers. One thing that cannot be overlooked is his mood-maker quality. As he said at his press conference, I have Latin blood in my veins, he is a cheerful guy. He was immediately talking to his assistants in Spanish, which he was not very good at. I am sure he will bring both tangible and intangible strength to the team.

Rakuten has been the focus of more attention than new manager Toshiaki Imae (40 ), who is rumored to be selling the team. A former coach lamented, I have been sounding the alarm bells since the Senichi Hoshino era.

Sen-san used to say, ‘If I hadn’t led the team to the top of Japan, owner Hiroshi Mikitani (59) would have sold himself long ago. Anyway, professional baseball teams cost money. The owner was fed up with that. I was the one who stopped him. I thought he was joking, but the year after Sen’s death, four managers in a row were promoted internally and other personnel changes were made within the team. The coach’s estimated annual salary was a low 20-40 million yen. Then came the rumors of a sale of the team. I am worried that it will affect morale.

If Masahiro Tanaka (35), who has been disappointing fans since his return to Japan, can lead the team to its second Japan championship with his Son of God performance, it would ignite the passion of the owners. It might be.

Professional baseball begins on March 29th, with various thoughts intertwined behind the bench.

On March 13, Takeuchi made his first appearance in open games, allowing one hit and no runs in four innings against the Chunichi batting lineup, securing his spot in the opening day rotation.
Soya is a left-handed pitcher of great promise. Last season, he started seven games from the middle of the season and won his first professional game in the final game of the season in October.
Yamashita was also an impressive pitcher for the Samurai Japan team. His fastball and forkball with a large drop-off, combined with his curveball, make him a powerhouse.
Manager Imae (left) and head coach Naoto Watanabe (43). Rakuten’s strength lies in the youth of its leadership team, which is in its early 40s.

From the April 5-12, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Jiji Press

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