FULL COUNT: The mid-June baseball report


Roughly halfway through June, Athletics lefty specialist Hideki Okajima has made only four appearances since being called up on May 19. He has a 2.45 ERA with one strikeout. Oakland also has no pressing need for shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, who is doing fine in Triple-A Sacramento. That’s where he’s going to be for a while.

Second baseman Kensuke Tanaka is producing consistently from the leadoff spot in the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A Fresno. He’s batting .317 with a .379 on-base percentage, 19 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases and is on pace for a late-season call-up.

Down in Texas, Rangers starter Yu Darvish (7-2) went seven innings June 9 against Kansas City. He leads the majors with 118 strikeouts and is a lock for next month’s All-Star Game.

Royals’ pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (7-3) has now compiled three straight quality starts after hitting a rough patch in May. His next start is against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend.

Like Darvish, Seattle Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (7-1) is also having an All-Star season with a 1.79 ERA, 87 strikeouts, and 0.82 WHIP in 14 starts.

Brewers’ leadoff man Norichika Aoki had an 11-game hit streak and will remain Milwaukee’s top guy with his .381 OBP.

In Anaheim, Jerome Williams (4-2) is one of the few dependable arms that the Angels have. The long-man and spot starter has a 2.87 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

New York Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (6-5) surrendered four runs on eight hits and three walks with six strikeouts over 6.1 innings against the Mariners on June 7. Ichiro Suzuki is doing better at the plate after an eight-game hit streak helped increase his batting average to .255. The Yankees also announced they will sign Hideki Matsui to a one-day contract on July 28 so he can retire in pinstripes.

Red Sox setup man Koji Uehara continues to have a great 2013 with 10 holds and a 0.91 WHIP. Also stellar is Junichi Tazawa (4-2), who has recorded nine holds and a 1.12 WHIP. Outfielder Shane Victorino (hamstring) is coming off the disabled list and will have his playing time managed carefully for the time being.

Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki is struggling at the plate with a .227 batting average as is Toronto Blue Jays infielder Munenori Kawasaki, who’s hitting .215.

The bad hasn’t ended for Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, who is batting a miserable .200. He has a great glove, but there are pitchers who hit better than him. News isn’t any better for his teammate Kyuji Fujikawa (1-1) who underwent Tommy John surgery on June 11 and is out for at least the next year. Don’t expect much from the 32-year-old for the remainder of his time in the majors.

Down in Los Angeles, Brandon League blew his fourth save of the season on June 10, and manager Don Mattingly has no confidence in his ability to close.

Drew Morita, a Yonsei from the island of Kaua‘i, grew up rooting for the Oakland A’s but is now a loyal San Francisco Giants fan. He writes from San Francisco. Follow him @drewmorita or e-mail him at drew_morita@yahoo.com.

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