Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Tigers pitcher Shintaro Fujinami to have test for coronavirus

by Jason Coskrey

Staff Writer

Hanshin Tigers pitcher Shintaro Fujinami will undergo a PCR test for the coronavirus, the team announced on Thursday.

Fujinami, 25, had been having trouble with his sense of smell and had been consulting with a doctor in Hyogo Prefecture.

The club said it will report the results of Fujinami’s test when available. Out of caution, a farm team game between the Tigers and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday was canceled.

NPB officials have also been notified about the situation.

According to the team’s statement, those connected with the club, both the top team and farm team, are currently on standby.

Additionally, a report on Thursday by Sports Nippon said other Tigers players were having issues with their sense of taste.

The club is also closing its baseball offices temporarily and will fully disinfect some of its baseball facilities, a process it expects to complete on Thursday.

Fujinami is the first NPB player to have his team announce he was being tested.

The league has already delayed its season, which was supposed to start March 20, due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. After originally aiming to start its season on or around April 10, the league decided earlier this week to begin on April 24.

Fujinami, Hanshin’s top draft pick in 2012, is preparing for his eighth NPB season. The right-hander is 50-40 with a 3.25 ERA overall. He was also a member of Japan’s 2017 World Baseball Classic squad.

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