There are three men managing teams for the first time in Japanese baseball this season. Two Central League skippers have had problems getting their teams on track, but another has done an outstanding job keeping his club at or near the top of the Pacific League standings.

Yutaka Wada and Kiyoshi Nakahata, rookie managers of the Hanshin Tigers and Yokohama BayStars, respectively, see their teams playing below the .500 mark.

Hideki Kuriyama, meanwhile, has guided the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to a strong second-place standing in the Pacific circuit, two games behind the pace-setting Chiba Lotte Marines through games of Thursday.