• Kyodo

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Chunichi Dragons manager Hisashi Yamada was virtually fired Tuesday to take responsibility for the Central League team’s poor showing during the current season, team President Junnosuke Nishikawa said.

Yamada, 55, who was ordered to “take a rest,” will be replaced by Chunichi head coach Kyosuke Sasaki, 53, who has also served as a batting coach.

Yamada, who is in the second year of a three-year contract, said, “It is a pity that I have to leave the team like this. I accepted the front office’s decision. Nobody will understand my chagrin in having to part from my players.”

Bungo Shirai, board chairman of the club, had said in July that Yamada would remain as manager of the team through the next season.

Chunichi is currently in fifth place with a 59-61 win-loss record as of Monday, trailing the front-running Hanshin Tigers by a whopping 21 games.

The Tiger can clinch their first Central League pennant since 1985 as early as Thursday.

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