Rain played a factor in Game 3 of both the Japan Series and the World Series on Tuesday in Osaka and Miami, respectively. The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks-Hanshin Tigers matchup was postponed until Wednesday, while the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins were delayed 38 minutes by a squall.
Everything is pushed back a day in the Japan schedule, including an anticipated Game 4 start for Daiei right-hander Brandon Knight, who will now pitch on Thursday at Koshien Stadium.
Knight is a survivor, the only one here of three Americans who joined the Hawks as first-year players this season. Relief pitcher Matt Skrmetta and utility infielder Bryant Nelson were placed on waivers last week.
His survival also comes despite the fact that Knight has been bothered by bone chips in his elbow that caused him to be inactive for a period during midseason and limiting him to only 16 games, 87 innings and 10 decisions during the regular year.
“I had to decide if I should go back (to the U.S.) for surgery,” Knight said during the summer. However, worried that might not only end his season but also his career, he elected to “suck it up” and pitch through the discomfort.
He threw well during the Hawks’ pennant stretch run, finishing the season with a 6-4 record and a 4.86 ERA.
Knight commented about his catcher Kenji Jojima. “Jo has the tools and the talent to play in the major leagues; the only problem would be communication,” he said, adding there has not been any trouble with the Knight-Jojima battery connection.
“I follow his lead, but he told me to shake off his sign any time I don’t feel confident throwing that pitch,” said Knight. His repertoire of deliveries includes his fastball, curve, slider and change-up.
Another thing to watch for is Knight’s hitting. Though he hasn’t batted all season except for one time in the minor leagues when he lined out to third, he would be in the lineup at Koshien where the designated hitter rule is not used.
Unlike Central League pitchers Trey Moore of the Tigers and Chris Brock of the Hiroshima Carp whose hitting proficiency is well-known, the woodworking skills of Knight were a secret until he took batting practice at Fukuoka Dome last week.
A lefty swinger who was drafted as an infielder into pro baseball, Knight hit the ball hard and parked a few shots near the 150-meter sign in front of the windows of The Big Life sports bar beyond the right field bleachers.
“Remember, that was only B.P.,” Knight said modestly. “I’m not a hitter anymore. Just a pitcher.” We’ll see about that.
Besides hoping he can help the Hawks to a Japan Series crown, Knight is pulling for New York in the World Series. He played with the Yankees in 2001-2002, so is rooting for his friends and former teammates.
We’re all rooting for clear evening skies and no more rain in South Florida or Western Japan.
Saito has operation
YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) Yokohama BayStars right-hander Takashi Saito underwent endoscopic surgery on the shoulder of his throwing arm on Tuesday, officials of the Central League club said Wednesday.
Saito is scheduled to remain in the hospital for the rest of the week and resume light pitching practice in a month or so.
Yakult inks Mounce
The Yakult Swallows on Wednesday said they have signed Texas Rangers southpaw Tony Mounce to a contract for next season, although terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 28-year-old Mounce, who was promoted to the major leagues for the first time in his career in midseason this year, had reportedly been set to sign a two-year deal worth an annual 40 million yen in addition to performance-based incentives.
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