• Kyodo

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Tokyo Yakult Swallows second baseman Tetsuto Yamada, who leads the Central League in nearly every offensive category, has been deactivated due to a rib injury, his club said Wednesday.

It is unknown when the 24-year-old will be fit. The Swallows are also without 2015 RBI champ Hirokazu Hatakeyama and 2015 batting champ Shingo Kawabata due to injury, but manager Mitsuru Manaka was optimistic about a speedy return for Yamada.

“I think there is a good possibility he will be able to return after 10 days,” Manaka said.

Yamada suffered a bone bruise on the eighth left rib when he was hit by a pitched ball on July 30. Until he came out of Tuesday’s game against the Chunichi Dragons, Yamada had played every inning since July 13, 2014.

He is currently batting .329 with 33 home runs, 84 RBIs and 27 stolen bases, and is a candidate to win the league’s Triple Crown.

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