Tigers manager Tomoaki Kanemoto won’t return for 2019 season

Kyodo

Tomoaki Kanemoto decided to leave his role as Hanshin Tigers manager Thursday to take responsibility for the team’s poor results, and owner Shinya Sakai has quickly followed suit, the team announced.

Under Kanemoto, who was hired to manage in October 2015, the Tigers will finish last in the Central League for the first time since 2001. The Tigers finished fourth in 2016 and second last year, when they were eliminated in the first stage of the CL Climax Series.

“This (decision) is based on poor results,” Kanemoto said at the Tigers’ offices. “I have unfinished business, but the bottom line is what matters in this game.

“Our president asked me to hang in a little longer, but my mind is made up.”

The club had hoped to sign the skipper to a multiyear extension, and was taken aback when Kanemoto walked away.

“I failed to support him, and for that I am extremely sorry,” said the 70-year-old Sakai, team owner since 2008. “I am totally responsible.

“I heard, even from other teams, how much our young talent had grown, but because we haven’t done very well we faced a dilemma.”

Yoda set to guide Dragons

The Chunichi Dragons have settled on a former Dragons closer, Tsuyoshi Yoda, to manage the Central League club in 2019, sources said Thursday.

The 52-year-old Yoda will replace 63-year-old Shigekazu Mori, who is moving into the front office to work in player personnel.

Yoda is currently a pitching coach with the Pacific League’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and has also been a Japan national team coach.

“We want him (Yoda) to build a strong team for us,” Dragons president Hironari Yano said.

Yoda joined the Dragons in 1990 after they made him their first pick in the 1989 draft. He went 4-5 with 31 saves and was named the CL Rookie of the Year. But after three solid seasons, elbow injuries surfaced in 1993. Yoda was traded in 2006 and appeared in just one first-team game the remainder of his career, which ended in 2000.