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08/13/2003 Archived Entry: "Japanese Baseball News: Yomiuri, Yakult Sorting Out Draft Choices; Koshien Action"

Team Reports

Yomiuri Yoshinobu Takahashi's shoulder is still so sore that he skipped the team's workout, though he is on the bench for pinch hit duty. A Yomiuri coach said that Takahashi can't lift his arm to throw due to the injury....The Giants will pay a visit to Waseda University shortstop Takashi Toritani, who they make their number one draft choice this coming November, on the 15th, according to Sports Nippon. Eight teams are said to be interested in Toritani, though he would like to go to either Yomiuri, Yokohama, Hanshin or Seibu. The Giants are deep in shortstops with Tomohiro Nioka and rookie Masahiro Nagata, so somebody will have to move to another position. Nagata, billed as the next Kazuo Matsui, was used at both second and third in spring training....Kimiyasu Kudoh took his family out to eat before he went to practice at Tokyo Dome Sunday. This is the summer vacation season for Japanese, but obviously there is little time off for ballplayers at the moment.

Yakult According to Sankei Sports, the Yakult Swallows are very interested in speedy pint sized Waseda University outfielder Norichika Aoki. Aoki was a pitcher in high school and can reportedly really gun it. He is a righthanded thrower who bats from the lefthand side and is thought to be a very good situational hitter. The 5'8" 162 pound Aoki also holds the Tokyo Big Six University League record for most runs scored in a game with six and he has a curcuit batting title under his belt. The Swallows front office is looking to use its top choice for pitching, so Aoki may be taken on the third round. Waseda's head coach, Toru Nomura, is quoted as estimating that Aoki ultimately projects better in the pros than third baseman Takashi Toritani, who is the object of affection by several teams, drawing comparisons to Yakult great and current manager Tsutomu Wakamatsu.

Chunichi Kenjiro Kawasaki made a minor league rehab start Sunday and was pretty mediocre, going six innings and giving up three runs on six hits. He will make another minor league start on the 16th. Still no word on when he may finally take the mound for the top club.

Yokohama Steve Cox will be ordered to participate in the team's fall camp and play in instructional league games after a bad knee has limited him to 14 games this season. Domingo Guzman, who has been a big disappointment this time around after closing strong in 2002, will also be doing so.

Koshien TournamentJapanese high school baseball superpower PL Gakuen hammered on Tokyo Municipal Yukigaya High School Sunday in their first Koshien berth in three years for 17 hits in a 13-2 victory before a capacity crowd of 53,000 Sunday. Cleanup hitter Akira Matsumoto brought comparisons with Hanshin outfielder Osamu Hamanaka from pro scouts when he yanked a solid single to left and then clubbed a rocket off the centerfield wall that went for a triple. He also walked in his six plate appearances....Another big high school baseball nine, Meitoku Gijuku, got behind early to Yokohama Shodai High, but surged back to take it 4-1. Meitolu shortstop Taiki Umeda paced the attack with three hits, breaking up a no hit bid by Shodai ace Shingo Kyuzen with a single to right in the sixth and collecting the RBI knock in the seventh between third and short that supplied the winners with the lead run during his side's three run rally . He told reporters that he was sitting on Kyuzen's fastball. Meitoku catcher Shingo Tanabe, who had tripled earlier in the game, homered to left in the eighth for the final margin of victory. Shodai was without outfielder Junpei Nakazawa, who broke his arm in a practice session Saturday....Fukui Shogyo High School advanced in the tourney when they edged Morioka Daifu High School in ten innings 8-6. This was Fukui's first Koshien shiroboshi since 1996 and they did it using small ball, racking up a total of eight sacrifice bunts. Morioka ace Toru Yamashita suffered a split fingernail during the game and lost the feel for his slider as a result. Following a leadoff double and a sac bunt, Yamashita unleashed a wild pitch to give Fukui a 7-6 advantage. Two more men then got on on catcher's interference and an infield hit and centerfielder Tatsunori Arai brought another run home on a knock to left for an insurance tally....In a sloppily played faceoff, Iwakuni High School conquered Haguro High 6-0. Haguro amassed ten hits, but couldn't get anyone home. Moreover, ace Yuta Morimoto was hurt both by bad control and dubious infield play to get behind by four through thr sixth, Brazilian-Japanese leftfielder Chiago Caldera then came on, and with his parents having flown in from Sao Paolo to see him, surrendered two runs on two hits in two innings of work to put it out of reach. Caldera, though, did crack a trio of singles in four times up in a losing cause.

In the News

Japanese Find Pride in Exploits of Ichiro and Matsui

See story at: Christian Science Monitor Article

Ichiro, Matsui and Pokemon

See story at: Yahoo News Article

Many Japanese Using Obon Holiday to Visit Yankee Stadium

There are a couple of minor factual errors in this article, but you can read it at: North Article

Ichiro Gets Best of Matsui This Time

See story at: NY Post Article

Hanshin Fans Wait Anxiously for Pennant

See story at: Japan Today Article

Sasaki's Interpreter Dreamed of Being a Player Himself

See story at: Everett Herald Article

Phillies Fire Scout Over Failed and Expensive Korean Prospect

You can't really blame them, either. See story at: Philadelphia Inquirer Article

Today's Pictures

Masahiro Kawai's Historic Sac Bunt

Another View of Kawai's Bunt

Eddie Gaillard Signs an Autograph

Tsuyoshi Wada Coming at You Live

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