New Yomiuri Giants manager Yoshinobu Takahashi appreciated the responsibility and the tasks that lie ahead as he was unveiled by the Central League club on Monday.
“It’s a role with heavy responsibilities. While retaining the tradition that my predecessors have built, I’d like to add my color,” said the 40-year-old. “There is anxiety but I’d like to push on with determination.”
Takahashi, who doubled up as an outfielder and batting coach for the Giants this season, called time on his playing career on Friday to succeed Tatsunori Hara, who took charge of the Giants for 12 years and won seven CL pennant and three Japan Series.
“It was a wonderful time,” said Takahashi of his 18-year career, recalling the scenes from his first at-bat and home run as his best memories.
“For the past few years I had injuries and was readying myself for retirement,” he said.
Takahashi had a career record of 1,753 hits, 321 home runs and 986 RBIs in 1,819 appearances for the Giants.
“So many great men have come before me in this job and I do feel the pressure,” he said. “I’m hoping to show the positive side of youth.”
Takahashi expressed his intention to uphold the team spirit instilled by his former manager Hara, who will become a special adviser at the turn of the year.
“I’d like to build a strong Giants team. He taught me it is the team ahead of the individual and I’d like to convey what is required to win games,” he said.
“Until the start of the new season, I want to assess how I can build a strong team with the current crop of players.”
Three pitchers from Yomiuri were found this month to have engaged in baseball gambling, and the new manager insisted on setting things straight.
“Whether it be on or off the field, I have to make a group of responsible members of society,” he said.
Asked whether he has made contact with one particular colleague, former Giant and New York Yankee Hideki Matsui, the answer was clear.
“I’ve phoned him, he said ‘It’s a great thing and I will lend my hand for whatever you need.’ “
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