Nippon Ham players come down with flu

ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido (Kyodo) Another three players and a coach of the Nippon Ham Fighters tested positive Tuesday for influenza A after rookie catcher Shota Ono came down with the bug earlier.

Outfielder and designated hitter Terrmel Sledge, pitchers Naoki Miyanishi and Takayuki Kanamori, and top assistant coach Junichi Fukura turned up positive after about 20 players and team officials were tested in a hospital in Asahikawa.

The Fighters, who are leading the Pacific League, are in Asahikawa for two games before wrapping up a three-game series against the Rakuten Eagles on Thursday in Sapporo.

“We’re not thinking about postponing or canceling games, but we’ll cancel events such as autograph sessions for the time being for the sake of fans’ health,” team President Junichi Fujii said.

Ono has been segregated in a Sapporo dormitory. The team will take a similar measure for the other four while staying alert to a possible spread of the flu.

“We’ve been informed by the club of the situation,” senior Pacific League official Shiromitsu Hanai said. “We may have to come up with countermeasures depending on developments, but I believe we don’t need to do that at this point.”