• Kyodo


Atsunori Inaba will be named the new manager of Japan’s national men’s baseball team as early as next week, an official source said Wednesday.

The 44-year-old former outfielder, who starred with the Central League’s Yakult Swallows and the Pacific League’s Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, was the Samurai Japan batting coach under former skipper Hiroki Kokubo.

Nippon Professional Baseball has employed a regular manager since 2013, when Japan failed to reach the World Baseball Classic final for the first time. Like Kokubo, Inaba comes to the job with no managerial experience.

He is expected to run Japan during the 2020 Olympics, when baseball will be contested at the summer games for the first time since 2008.

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