The injury-plagued Tokyo Yakult Swallows suffered another blow on Thursday, when first baseman Kazuhiro Hatakeyama was diagnosed with an injury that may cause him to miss the rest of the regular season.
Hatakeyama, who was hurt during fielding practice on Tuesday, was diagnosed with a torn oblique muscle on the left side of his ribs. It appears that he will not be able to resume practicing for two to three weeks, making it unlikely he will see further action this season.
The 30-year-old first baseman was with the Swallows farm team due to poor form at the time of his injury.
“Injuries to the side take time,” said skipper Junji Ogawa, whose club is currently stuck in the Central League cellar. “What can you do? All we’ve had this season are injuries.”
Their best pitcher, Shohei Tateyama, is out after season-ending surgery and young right-handed star Yoshinori Sato is also out for the season.
Slugging outfielder Wladimir Balentien missed the club’s first 12 games, while infielder Shingo Kawabata was sidelined for he first half of the season, and left fielder Lastings Milledge had his season end on Aug. 8. Japan catcher Ryoji Aikawa also missed most of April and May with an injury.