Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Manaka will leave Swallows at season's end

Kyodo

Mitsuru Manaka is set to step down as manager of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at the end of the season due to the team’s poor performance, club president Tsuyoshi Kinugasa said Tuesday.

Kinugasa revealed that Manaka made his intentions known in a meeting the two parties had Sunday after the Swallows lost to the Hiroshima Carp, guaranteeing they will finish with a losing record for the second-straight season with 32 games remaining.

“I asked him if he would remain at his post for another year but his mind was fixed,” Kinugasa said.

According to Kinugasa, the 46-year-old, who is in his final year of a three-year contract, was also reluctant about taking on any front office roles.

Manaka took the helm of the slumping Swallows in 2015 after the team finished at the bottom of the six-team Central League standings for two consecutive seasons, and helped them win their first CL pennant in 14 years in his first year.

But Yakult finished fifth last season, and has been dealt a blow in its bid to improve performance this season with injuries to key players, including 2015 CL batting champion Shingo Kawabata.

Unable to pick up the pace in July with 14 consecutive losses, the Swallows now have a CL-worst 38-71-2 record, with hopes of taking part in the Climax Series all but dashed.

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