KOBE – Orix BlueWave manager Hiromichi Ishige was fired after a game against the Seibu Lions on Wednesday, team officials said.
Ishige, 46, will be replaced by Orix batting coach Leon Lee, who played for three teams in Japan from 1978 to 1987 — the Lotte Orions (now the Lotte Marines), the Taiyo Whales (Yokohama BayStars) and the Yakult Swallows.
Ishige, who signed a three-year contract with the BlueWave last year, finished in last place for the first time in franchise history with a dismal 50-87-3 record in 2002.
This season, the team appeared to have bolstered its pitching staff with new additions such as major leaguers Masato Yoshii and Mac Suzuki but has gotten off to poor start, including losing its first four games of the season.
Orix is currently in last place with a 7-12-1 record.
Ishige played for the Seibu Lions and the Daiei Hawks and managed Daiei’s farm team before taking the managerial post with Orix.
Lee, 50, batted .308 with 268 home runs and 884 RBIs during his career in Japan.
His best season came in 1980, when he batted .340, hit 41 home runs and 116 RBIs for the Orions.
Lee, whose son Derrek plays for the Florida Marlins, batted .300 or better during eight of his 10 seasons.
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