• Kyodo


Yomiuri Giants’ Shun Yamaguchi was abruptly withdrawn from a game against the Chunichi Dragons on Tuesday over of a violent incident last week in which the pitcher is suspected to have been involved, according to the Central League ball club.

In the early hours of July 11, Yamaguchi visited a Tokyo hospital after sustaining a wound on his right hand from broken glass at a restaurant where he was celebrating his 30th birthday. He was apparently drunk at the time. At the hospital, Yamaguchi is suspected of damaging a door and injuring a security guard, a team spokesperson said.

Yomiuri said it is investigating the matter further and will bench Yamaguchi for the time being. The pitcher left the DeNA BayStars last offseason to join the Giants as a free agent.

“I don’t know any more than what the team has announced,” Giants Manager Yoshinobu Takahashi said before Tuesday’s game at Nagoya Dome. “I have nothing to say as I don’t have the details.”

After the incident came to light earlier Tuesday, the club hastily replaced Yamaguchi, who had been announced the previous day as the starter for Yomiuri, with pitcher Hayato Takagi. The Giants lost 6-1 to the Dragons.

Yamaguchi first pitched for his new team in June, making a late debut due to problems with his shoulder. He has so far pitched in four games with a 1-1 record and a 6.43 ERA this season.

This is the latest of several scandals to hit the Giants. In 2015, some players on the team were involved in illegal gambling on baseball games and were subsequently suspended indefinitely.

The Tokyo police, confirmed such an incident occurred on July 11 in Meguro Ward that matches details reported by the Yomiuri Giants. They are investigating to confirm the connection to Yamaguchi.

The police received damage reports from the hospital in Meguro with claims of property damage as well as a filed report from a security guard claiming bodily injuries, including bruises to the chest and lower back.

While team officials have criticized Yamaguchi for his “low level of awareness” from having hurt his throwing hand, some Giants fans in Nagoya said they felt betrayed.

“Personal troubles are also seen as the problem of the ball club itself,” said Ayana Matsuo, a 27-year-old who came to Nagoya Dome with her colleagues to cheer on the Yomiuri Giants. “With this coming after the gambling scandal, I think many fans are fed up.”

Another female fan said, “It is disappointing if he was really involved in violence. Were the player and ball club hiding it until now? I hope they won’t do something that would tarnish the team’s image.”

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