Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Former star closer Shingo Takatsu to manage Swallows, source says


Former major league pitcher Shingo Takatsu will manage the Tokyo Yakult Swallows next season, and a team source said Thursday an official announcement could be made as early as Sunday.

Takatsu currently manages the Swallows’ Eastern League farm team. The farm team wrapped up its season on Thursday. Although Takatsu did not speak of the appointment, he did have lunch with team president Tsuyoshi Kinugasa.

A right-handed sidearm pitcher, the 50-year-old Takatsu played most of his pro career with the Swallows, helping the Central League team win four Japan Series titles (1993,’95, ’97 and 2001). He pitched in two major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets before returning for two more with the Swallows. He also pitched in South Korea and Taiwan.

Takatsu saved 286 games in NPB, the second-highest total in league history.

The Swallows have been managed the past two seasons by Junji Ogawa, who stepped down after the club finished last in the league this year.