• Kyodo


Former Yokohama BayStars manager Hiroshi Gondo and major leaguer Takashi Saito will join the Japan national team as pitching coaches on Thursday for the team’s two games against Taiwan in March.

“I’m just focused on giving players the push to let them play without any regrets,” said the 77-year-old Gondo, who led the BayStars to their first Japan Series title in 38 years in 1998 in his first year in charge.

Saito, 45, moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the BayStars in 2006 and went on to record 84 saves and a 2.34 ERA for five clubs in seven big league seasons. He joined the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013 and hung up his glove at the end of the last season, before joining the San Diego Padres’ front office on an internship.

Former Nippon Ham Fighter Atsunori Inaba joins as the batting coach, while former Yomiuri Giants second baseman Toshihisa Nishi serves as the infield coach and Takayuki Onishi as the outfield coach.

Japan will play Taiwan at Nagoya Dome on March 5, before moving to Kyocera Dome in Osaka a day later for the second game.

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