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The Yomiuri Giants will fine outfielder Tuffy Rhodes 2 million yen for criticizing the team after a 7-5 loss to the Yakult Swallows the previous day, the Central League club said Wednesday.

News photoHanshin Tigers third baseman Makoto Imaoka hits a bases-loaded two-run single off Chunichi Dragons reliever Yuichi Hisamoto in the fourth inning Thursday at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. The Dragons won 9-8.

The move came after Rhodes criticized the team and fielding coach Sumio Hirota with insulting words in front of a group of reporters after the game at Yahoo Dome in Fukuoka.

Yomiuri said it will use the fine to invite school children to home games at Tokyo Dome.

People familiar with the situation said Rhodes had a confrontation with Hirota, which required several others to separate them, after the coach pointed to his “indifferent fielding” in left field in the top of the ninth inning that led to the go-ahead run for Yakult.

The loss extended the Giants’ losing skid to a season-worst five games and kept them at the bottom of the league standings.

Yomiuri said Rhodes violated a team code prohibiting players from taking action, including bodily contact, showing criticism or opposition to an instruction from a member of its coaching staff.

On Wednesday, Rhodes said through an interpreter that the acts and remarks he made after Tuesday’s game were wrong and came out of his frustration at a time when the performances of the team and himself are not very good.

Rhodes apologized to the Giants’ coaching staff and players before Wednesday’s game against the Swallows at Yahoo Dome.

Samurai spirit

The Associated Press

Warren Cromartie wants Japan’s Samurai Bears to play baseball the same way the former Montreal Expos and Yomiuri Giants outfielder used to: with lots of fun and intensity.

Cromartie was named manager of the all-Japanese team that will be part of the America’s newly formed Golden Baseball League, starting its inaugural season on May 26.

“I know the Japanese style is based heavily on fundamentals,” Cromartie said Thursday. “But I’ll manage the way I played. Put the ball in play, go from first to third, good defense, it won’t be small ball but smart ball.”

Cromartie, who played for the Expos from 1974 to 1983, joined the Yomiuri Giants in 1984 and spent seven years with the Central League team. As one of the most popular foreign players ever to play the game in Japan, the Florida native knows how to blend the American and Japanese styles better than anyone.

The GBL, which will play games in California and Arizona, and initially have eight teams, is the brainchild of president and founder Amit Patel and GBL commissioner Kevin Outcalt, who joined with Cromartie in Tokyo on Thursday to introduce their new concept.

“It’s an attempt to reform the minor league system,” said Outcalt. “The current minor league system constrains opportunities for players. We want to provide a platform for players to get exposure outside of the existing system.”

When he played for the Giants, Cromartie quickly became a fan favorite with his outgoing personality. On Thursday, he said he hopes to use that same approach with the Samurai Bears.

“We’re out to win the championship,” said Cromartie. “And after every win, we’re going to look to the fans and shout ‘Banzai.’ “

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