Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Ex-star catcher Akihiro Yano to take helm of Hanshin top team

Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers minor league manager Akihiro Yano accepted a promotion that will make him the top team manager, the seven-time All-Star catcher revealed Monday.

Yano will replace former teammate Tomoaki Kanemoto, who last week refused to accept a contract extension to take responsibility for the team’s poor results this season.

“I was really worried, but I thought that I have to do it,” said Yano, who will attempt to help the Tigers recover from finishing last in the Central League for the first time in 17 years.

“I figured it’s better to give it a shot than regretting later on what I didn’t do. The role of the Tigers’ manager is a heavy responsibility so I had to think hard,” he said.

Like Kanemoto, Yano attended Sendai’s Tohoku Fukushi University and was a star on the Tigers’ last two CL pennant-winning teams in 2003 and 2005, winning the Golden Glove both years.

He debuted with the Chunichi Dragons in 1991, and was traded to the Tigers in 1998. In 2010 he retired, ending a 20-year career.

Under Yano, the Tigers’ farm team won the Western League and Japan’s farm championship.