FULL COUNT: Everyone’s doing well except Barney, League

Leading off the not-good list is Los Angeles Dodgers closer Brandon League, who is in danger of losing his job. In three appearances this month, League has faced 18 batters giving up six hits, five earned runs, and three walks for a 6.28 ERA. Kenley Jansen is set to take over if his struggles continue. […]

FULL COUNT: One month of baseball by the numbers

Four weeks into the 2013 season, most if not all Japanese and JA major leaguers are playing well. I’d only classify Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney (.208 average, 10 hits in 48 at-bats) and Blue Jays infielder Munenori Kawasaki (.220 average, three RBI in 17 games) as struggling at the plate. Yet Barney, who […]

FULL COUNT: Roster moves precede Opening Day

Many Japanese and JA stars like Ichiro Suzuki, Yu Darvish, and Shane Victorino know that they are locks to make their club’s big league roster. Not the case for non-roster invitees and rookie hopefuls like Giants infielder Kensuke Tanaka or Phillies shortstop Troy Hanzawa. In San Francisco, “Tanaka Time” is on hold. The Giants designated […]

FULL COUNT: Classic upsets in spring baseball

In a major upset, two-time defending champion Japan lost to Puerto Rico 3-1 in the World Baseball Classic semifinal at AT&T Park on March 17 before a crowd of 33,683. The Samurai were held hitless through three innings by Puerto Rican starter Mario Santiago, a career minor-leaguer. Japanese starter Kenta Maeda gave up just one […]

FULL COUNT: Okajima pursues return to MLB

Veteran reliever Hideki Okajima was released by the Softbank Hawks on Jan. 28, enabling him to seek a deal with a major league club. The Oakland Athletics are among the teams interested in the 37-year-old who last pitched for Boston in 2011. He is expected to fill the lefty specialist role for whoever signs him. […]

FULL COUNT: Giants sign Tanaka as WBC rosters take shape

On Jan. 10, the San Francisco Giants signed free agent infielder Kensuke Tanaka to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The 31-year-old left-handed hitter will compete with Wilson Valdez for the utility spot behind Marco Scutaro. The speedy Tanaka has 161 stolen bases and was a .286 hitter during his 13-year […]

FULL COUNT: Year’s end update

As 2012 comes to a close, here’s a recap of the most recent transactions involving Japanese or Japanese American ball players. Reports indicate Seibu Lions infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and the Oakland A’s have agreed on a two-year deal worth $6.5 million. Nakajima made seven all-star appearances in 11 seasons with Seibu, hitting .302 with 149 […]

FULL COUNT: Japan’s chance for Classic three-peat gets tougher

Japan will have to win this spring without the marquee players that helped them in the past. This week New York Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda and free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki announced they will not play for the two-time champion in the World Baseball Classic becoming the latest Japanese stars to opt out of the […]

FULL COUNT: Gold Glove and Transactions

Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney added a Gold Glove Award to his trophy case after going 141 games without an error. In October he received the Fielding Bible Award for his defense. Texas starter Yu Darvish will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic this spring, choosing instead to focus on preparing for next […]

FULL COUNT: Giants win and offseason begins

On Oct. 28, the Giants completed their historic four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, bringing San Francisco its second World Series title in three years. Although there were no Japanese players in the Fall Classic, assistant trainer Taira Uematsu and team acupuncturist Haro Ogawa earned their second rings as members of the Giants staff. The […]

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