Breaking News: Swallows acquire Minoru Yamagishi

The Swallows have just announced that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Minoru Yamagishi from the Saitama Seibu Lions. In return, the Swallows have sent catcher Tomohito Yoneno to the Lions.

Yamagishi was drafted by Seibu in the 4th round of the 2004 draft out of Aoyama Gakuin University. Yamagishi had served as Aoyama’s ace for 2 years after Swallows’ veteran Masanori Ishikawa. He has been used almost exclusively as a reliever as a pro, with a high of 31 appearances in 2006. That year, Yamagishi managed to get 45 strikeouts in only 39 and 1/3 innings. Since then, Yamagishi’s chances with the main team decreased gradually and he only made 4 appearances each in the last 2 seasons. Yamagishi hasn’t made any appearances with the Lions this year, but he has made 9 starts with the farm team. In 36 innings of work Yamagishi has compiled a 2-5 record with 21 strikeouts, 21 walks, 51 hits allowed, and an ERA of 5.75. No word yet on how the Swallows intend to used Yamagishi.

Going to the Lions is the man once thought to be the heir apparent to the great Atsuya Furuta. Yoneno was drafted straight out of high school in 1999. After spending time at the farm and slowly getting more first team playing time, Yoneno became the main catcher for the Swallows in 2006 during Furuta’s first year as manager. In 2006, Yoneno played in 116 games and hit .235 (.285 OBP) with 7 home runs. In 2007, Yoneno was expected to be the Swallows’ starting catcher but struggles at the plate lead him to share playing time with Masakazu Fukukawa. Yoneno’s continued struggles, and the emergence of Ryohei Kawamoto, lead to Yoneno’s demotion to the farm team in July of 2007. Since then, Yoneno has been given limited opportunities with the Swallows, playing in only 27 games over the last 2 seasons. This year, Yoneno has only managed to appear in 5 games with the Swallows’ farm team.

Yet another trade for minor players, but hopefully both players will be able to capitalize on the opportunities afforded to them by their new clubs.

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.