Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Hawks second baseman Iguchi says he's ready to fly the coop


Fukuoka Daiei Hawks infielder Tadahito Iguchi asked the Pacific League club Wednesday to enter into negotiations on his wish to move to the major leagues through the posting system.

News photoHanshin slugger Tomoaki Kanemoto hits a sacrifice fly against the Yokohama BayStars at Koshien
Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, to increase his league-leading RBI tally to 113 during the Tigers’ final game of the season. The BayStars won 6-1.

On Tuesday, Iguchi said his willingness to play in the majors remains strong after club officials persuaded him to stay with the Hawks the previous two years.

“I don’t know if I can move to the majors but I said talks should be held as quickly as possible,” Iguchi said, noting that he has told Hawks general manager Kenji Sato of his wish to start negotiations.

Sato told reporters that the club plans to meet with the 29-year-old sometime next week.

Iguchi appeared in 124 regular-season games and hit over .300 for the second straight year with a .333 batting average along with 24 homers and 89 RBIs.

Meanwhile, veteran Yokohama BayStars right-hander Denney Tomori said Wednesday he will leave the Central League club to take a shot at the major leagues.

“I think I can make it to the majors and I’ll pitch for any team that gives me an opportunity to play,” said the 37-year-old, who spent much of the season in the minor leagues and finished with a 0-1 record in 21 games.

Tomori joined the Taiyo Whales, the forerunner of Yokohama, in 1987 from Konan high school in Okinawa as a first-round draft pick. The sidearmer has an 18-28 career record with 30 saves.

Livedoor names GM

SENDAI (Kyodo) Livedoor Inc. President Takafumi Horie said Wednesday the company has named Katsunori Kojima, who served as an interpreter for Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo while he was in the major leagues, as general manager of its baseball team on a caretaker basis.

The appointment of Kojima, 31, who has also worked for the Yokohama BayStars and the Japanese national baseball team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is part of preparations related to the Internet service provider’s application to own a professional baseball team.

Horie said he is in talks with another person who would take up the official post of general manager, adding that Kojima would continue to be involved in the work at the front office afterward.

Livedoor and Internet mall operator Rakuten Inc. are vying to join professional baseball next season, with both companies planning to locate their hometown in Sendai.

Stars to miss series

Fukuoka Daiei Hawks infielders Nobuhiko Matsunaka and Tadahito Iguchi and Yomiuri Giants infielder Tomohiro Nioka will miss next month’s exhibition series between the Japanese All-Star team and major league players, organizers said Wednesday.

Matsunaka was hospitalized earlier in the day for acute hepatitis while Iguchi and Nioka will focus on treatment on their injuries.

Hanshin Tigers infielder Makoto Imaoka and Seibu Lions infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima have been selected as replacements with another player to be named later by organizers.

BayStars trip Tigers

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Shuichi Murata hit a three-run homer to highlight a four-run third inning Wednesday, leading the last-place Yokohama BayStars to a 6-1 victory over the Hanshin Tigers in the Central League.

Yoshihiro Doi (5-5) held Hanshin to one run on seven hits in seven innings for the win at Koshien Stadium. Shinobu Fukuhara (10-15) took the loss as Hanshin.

Hanshin outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto drove in a run on a sacrifice fly for his league-leading 113th RBI of the season.

Hawks waive Valdes

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks put outfielder Pedro Valdes on waivers Wednesday for his conditional release. The move came after Valdes hit .279 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs in the regular season in his fourth year with the Hawks.