OSAKA – Orix Buffaloes ace Chihiro Kaneko has been deactivated due to shoulder pain on Friday, the Pacific League club revealed.
According to the team’s public relations section, Kaneko had been pitching with slight pain in the joint. However, his condition worsened during Thursday’s interleague game against the Chunichi Dragons, when he lost strength in his shoulder. The Buffaloes lost 8-3 as Kaneko surrendered six runs in 3-2/3 innings.
The 32-year-old right-hander had a banner season in 2014, when he won the PL’s MVP Award and the Sawamura Award as Nippon Professional Baseball’s most impressive starting pitcher. That autumn, however, he had surgery on the shoulder to remove loose matter and he didn’t return to action until a month into the 2015 season.
After a mediocre 2015 season, Kaneko appeared healthier than ever this spring, but didn’t earn his first win until April 30. He currently has a 3-5 record with a 4.28 ERA