The Yomiuri Giants on Friday acquired Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters slugger Sho Nakata, who was indefinitely suspended from all top team and farm team games by the Pacific League club for an act of violence against a teammate.
The Fighters said on Aug. 11 that the 32-year-old infielder engaged in aggressive behavior before an Aug. 4 exhibition game. He was immediately ordered to leave the stadium and stay at home while the team launched an investigation.
“I really regret causing everyone trouble,” Nakata said during a press conference in Tokyo with his new Central League club. “I’ll have a hard look at myself and start from scratch.”
The Hokkaido-based Fighters at the time said the punishment was severe despite the victim not viewing the incident as a serious offense and despite an apology from Nakata for his actions.
“We’ve heard (from Nippon Ham) he had deep regret and was prepared to quit baseball,” said Atsuhiro Otsuka, the Giants’ assistant representative. “We had a conversation with our manager (Tatsunori) Hara and thought it was necessary to save the player.”
Nippon Ham manager Hideki Kuriyama on Monday hinted it would be “difficult” for Nakata to continue with the Fighters and was looking for the best solution possible.
Nakata led the Pacific League in RBIs last year and in two previous seasons.
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