Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Ex-Lotte skipper Norifumi Nishimura to take over as Orix manager

Former Chiba Lotte Marines skipper Norifumi Nishimura will take over as manager of the Orix Buffaloes, sources close to the matter revealed Friday.

Nishimura will replace Junichi Fukura, who announced last week he will step down at the end of the season after what will be the Buffaloes’ fourth straight year finishing with a losing record.

The 58-year-old Nishimura joined Lotte in 1982, and recorded 1,298 hits and 363 stolen bases over 16 seasons as a player before retiring and moving on to coaching duties.

In 2010, Nishimura replaced former Lotte manager Bobby Valentine and led the Marines to the Japan Series championship. He resigned after two consecutive losing seasons, and has been a coach with Orix since 2016.

The Buffaloes, currently fourth in the Pacific League standings, play the SoftBank Hawks later Friday in their last game of the season.