Former New York Yankee Hideki Matsui admitted Saturday that the recent banning of four Yomiuri Giants pitchers for their involvement in baseball gambling touched a nerve, but he offered no advice to Japanese baseball on how to prevent a reoccurrence of the problem.
“It’s really regrettable. I wonder how it all came about,” said former Yomiuri slugger Matsui. “It is true that it touched a nerve, made me feel a kind of anger.”
Matsui revealed that he had an hour-long conversation with his junior at Seiryo High School and the Giants, Kyosuke Takagi, who was banned for a year for his involvement in the betting scandal.
Takagi, 26, on March 22 became the fourth Giants pitcher to be penalized for the incident after three had been banned indefinitely in November, but he received a lighter sentence as his involvement in gambling was a short period, from April to May 2014.
A Nippon Professional Baseball investigation found no evidence of the four wagering on Giants games or their involvement in any match-fixing.
“It was me who wanted to meet, to talk to him (Takagi) about several things,” Matsui said. “The fact (he was involved) won’t change, he has to accept the punishment and make a new start. I felt angry but just talked to him about the future.”
Matsui said he was not in a position to talk about how Japanese baseball should counter the issue, but called on the players to get things straight.
“It’s not difficult,” he said. “You shouldn’t do things that you shouldn’t. Fans will turn their back when things like this take place.”
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