Prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, the Saitama Seibu Lions had to make a corresponding move in order to make room for Ryoma Nogami on the ichi-gun team as he was scheduled to start. The move ended up being one of two players who excelled in preseason.
Hotaka Yamakawa became the casualty on the ichi-gun roster after an ineffective first-four games to the 2016 season. Yamakawa, 24, made the team and was the starting first baseman on opening day. In 12 plate appearances he failed to get a hit and only drew a walk.
On Tuesday night, he had an RBI groundout and had a sacrifice bunt at the bottom of the order. He will not be eligible to return to the ichi-gun roster until April 9.
Despite starting well in the preseason and being nicknamed “Okawari-II” for his large size, Yamakawa’s power wasn’t seen in the regular season. The Lions were playing Ernesto Mejia as the designated hitter, meaning there were three players who weighed more than 100 kilograms on the roster at the same time.
With this deactivation, the Lions were able to have Tomoya Mori start as the team’s designated hitter for the first time in 2016, a position he held last year. Mori, 20, didn’t have a position in the field after the Lions shut down his experiment of being a catcher.
When looking at the roster, there were only two options to choose from. The Lions could’ve deactivated a reserve in Daichi Mizuguchi due to being the last on the depth chart or Yamakawa due to performance, where they chose the latter.
While Yamakawa has a chance to come back to the ichi-gun, it appears unlikely for the short term as he will need to impress at the ni-gun level. He was originally a second round draft pick in 2012 Fuji University and was teammates with Shuta Tonosaki as well as Shinsaburo Tawata at the college level. Yamakawa’s origin out of high school is in Okinawa, where he was also teammates with Tawata.
Posted by Christian Gin at 7:38 PM
Originally posted on Graveyard Baseball
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