• Kyodo


The Hanshin Tigers and Seibu Lions announced Wednesday they have swapped left-hander Daiki Enokida and right-hander Yosuke Okamoto in Nippon Professional Baseball’s first trade of the year.

The trade comes less than three weeks before the start of the NPB season, and is also the first player trade for either second-year Seibu manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji or third-year Hanshin skipper Tomoaki Kanemoto.

Enokida, the Tigers’ first-round draft pick in 2010, played just three games for the Central League club last season. The 31-year-old lefty said he was surprised by the move, but felt it was necessary.

“My present situation is not the best. I was surprised but I’m going because they need me,” Enokida said. “I hope I can contribute to a win. I hope to bloom again (as a player) at Seibu.”

Okamoto said he was sad to leave the Pacific League club he joined in 2011 but embraced his new situation.

“Playing in front of so many fans for eight years has given me the motivation to keep continuing my baseball career,” the 32-year-old said. “My team will change but I want to keep working hard and continue to show my power.”

In 196 games with the Tigers, Enokida went 13-17 with three saves with a 3.90 ERA. Okamoto has a 13-16 career record with a 4.80 ERA.

Both teams finished second in their respective league last season.

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