• Kyodo


Future Hall of Famer Tomoaki Kanemoto said Monday that as the new manager of the Hanshin Tigers, he would like to get the job done with the players currently with the hugely popular Central League club.

“My ideal is to win with the players we have now — if possible without new signings,” the 47-year-old former outfielder told a press conference. “But even if I say that, we must seek results. From now, I’d like to think on this carefully.”

Kanemoto, who was known as “Iron Man,” started his career with the CL’s Hiroshima Carp before joining the Tigers as a free agent in 2003, when he helped Hanshin to its first pennant in 18 years. He holds Nippon Professional Baseball’s record for consecutive innings played with 13,686. During that stretch, he played in every inning of 1,492 games. He retired after the 2012 season.

The new skipper, who hit 476 home runs over his career, said one aim was to develop the club’s young power hitters. Asked for specifics, he rattled off the names of youngsters Taiga Egoshi, Shintaro Yokota and Naomasa Yokawa.

“Home run hitters don’t come along all that often. I want to place my hopes on guys with good swings,” Kanemoto said.

“I want to build a team that is interesting to watch, a thrilling team, one where the manager, coaches, players, the first team, the farm team, the front office will fulfill the promise to fight,” he said.

“I was conflicted (about accepting the team’s offer to manage), but the front office people said they were even willing to see the team torn down in order for it to be rebuilt. I appreciated their enthusiasm and believe they have the will to live up to that.”

Kanemoto, who has never coached or managed, was tabbed for his leadership abilities as well as his name value to Hanshin’s legions of fans, who never warmed to soft-spoken skipper Yutaka Wada despite his status as a former Tigers star.

“I honestly don’t know what the results will be, what I myself can accomplish or whether real change can occur. But I will give everything I’ve got to winning,” Kanemoto said.

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