FULL COUNT: Designations, a return, and another possible import

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With less than a month left in the regular season, here’s a roundup of the major league action.

The San Francisco Giants have designated utility man Kensuke Tanaka for assignment and the Oakland Athletics have done the same for lefty reliever Hideki Okajima. As both players were already with their club’s Triple-A affiliates, the transaction removes them from the 40-man roster, clearing roster space for prospects as September call ups begin. Both had brief stints in the majors this year.

The big news in the Bay Area was the return of catcher Kurt Suzuki to the A’s after a year-long stint with the Washington Nationals. Suzuki has been hot as of late, batting .333 since the Aug. 23 trade while stabilizing catcher position, which has been wracked by injuries.

Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish (12-7) took another no-hitter into the seventh on Aug. 30, but came away with a loss against the Twins. He still has an outstanding 1.06 WHIP, 2.91 ERA and leads the majors with 240 strikeouts. On Aug. 30, Darvish struck out 11 to equal Hideo Nomo’s record for most in a big league season by a Japanese pitcher, a mark he broke in a Sept. 4 loss to the A’s.

Seattle Mariner Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6) also has a 1.02 WHIP. While he has lost his last two outings, he did hold the A’s to just three runs over seven innings on Aug. 21.

The story is the same for Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney: great glove (.993) and not-so-great bat (.214)

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino has a minor hip issue, but will not miss any time. He’s batting a consistent .293 with 12 home runs, and 51 RBIs. On Aug. 19, Boston’s set-up man Junichi Tazawa (5-3) spoke to Nichi Bei Weekly via interpreter C.J. Matsumoto about his teammate closer Koji Uehara. “He’s part of the reason I’m doing much better this year,” Tazawa said. “Learning from a great veteran has been good for me.” Tazawa currently has 22 holds, 65 strikeouts, and 1.15 WHIP. Uehara (3-0) has been solid recording 17 saves and a 1.16 ERA and Tazawa could inherit a closer role later in his career.

In Los Angeles, Dodgers reliever Brandon League (6-4) made another horrendous appearance on Aug. 25 giving up a two-run homer late, and has allowed four hits and one run in two subsequent outings. He has a 5.44 ERA and is one of the least trusted arms in the game. Over in Anaheim, Angels spot starter Jerome Williams (5-10) allowed three runs in six innings on Aug. 31 as he continues an up and down year.

Jeremy Guthrie (13-10) came away with a no-decision on Aug. 31, but the Kansas City Royals right-hander pitched well over seven innings giving up only one run while striking out four and allowing no walks.

Norichika Aoki has a nagging knee injury but is still a threat in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup with a .287 average and .352 OBP.

Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has been facing less and less left-handed pitching yet maintains a .270 batting average. Suzuki belted his 4,000th career hit against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York on Aug. 21. The total includes 2,722 hits in the majors and 1,278 from nine seasons in Japan. Meanwhile, Hiroki Kuroda (11-10) has given up 23 runs in his last four outings; yes that’s terrible.

Lastly, New York has been heavily scouting NPB ace Masahiro Tanaka (17-0), who has a 1.20 ERA with 130 strikeouts against 22 walks in 158 innings this season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka was the No. 1 player participating in the World Baseball Classic not signed by a major league team. He would easily be a No. 2 starter in the majors.

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.

One response to “FULL COUNT: Designations, a return, and another possible import”

  1. A's Fan Avatar
    A’s Fan

    What will Suzuki have to do to make the playoff roster? I fear he is the odd man out.

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