Around the Central League: January 29, 2012

Kawakami back with the Dragons this year

Chunichi Dragons

  • Sold backup catcher, Keiji Oyama (31) to Tohoku. 2011 was Oyama’s best season so far, offensively-speaking. He hit .280/.394/.390 in 102 plate appearances.
  • It sounds like Araki and Ibata could be reverting to their old positions, second and short, respectively.
  • Victor Diaz is all but certain to be wearing a Chunichi uniform this season. He has experience playing all over the field, so he should give the Dragons several options in terms of where they can put him.
  • The team lured the team’s former starter, Kenshin Kawakami, back from MLB. The last time he played in a Dragons uniform was the 2008 season when he recorded a 9-5 record and a 2.30 ERA. He moved to the Atlanta Braves as a free agent after that. Kawakami pitched well in 2009, but is now regarded as a bust in MLB. He spent most of last season at AA and ended the season with an ERA well above eight. Six million dollars for a crappy year at double A? Yikes.

Yomiuri Giants

  • First year players Scott Mathieson (P) and John Bowker (OF) were unveiled to the media on Friday.

Hanshin Tigers

  • Much like Tokyo, Hanshin has yet to figure out who will be manning center field this season. A number of names have been floated, including Ryo Asai, Shunsuke, Wei-Chu Lin and rookie Hayata Ito.
  • Matt Murton’s wife has still not given birth to the couple’s third child, so there’s a very good chance that he will miss the beginning of spring camp.
  • It looks like pitcher Yasutomo Kubo will re-sign with the team some time this week, but infielder Keiichi Hirano is still holding out.

Hiroshima Carp

Yokohama Baystars

  • The new Baystar uniforms are apparently due to be unveiled this weekend. Alex Ramirez may be one of the guys modeling the new kit.

Pacific League Notes

  • Kiko Arai, daughter of Orix Buffaloes farm team manager, Hiromasa Arai, is highly attractive. Exhibit A, she was recently crowned Miss Japan.
  • Hokkaido received the posting bid money (more than US$50 million for Yu Darvish) from the Rangers. Unfortunately for Hokkaido, however, investors are still guaranteeing the relative strength of the yen over the dollar and euro, so the amount received was basically the equivalent of a couple thousand dollars at today’s exchange rate.
About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini