Former major leaguers in Japan – Pitchers

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In case you missed it, I ran down the hitters on Wednesday.

D.J. Houlton – 5-3, 2.13 ERA, 62/21 K/BB in 76 IP

Houlton ranks third in the Pacific League in ERA behind Masahiro Tanaka
and Yu Darvish. The 29-year-old was a swingman last year in his first
season in Japan. He had a 4.18 ERA in 28 innings out of the pen for the
Dodgers in 2007, but former GM Paul DePodesta was likely his biggest
backer in the organization and the new regime didn’t think he had much
to offer.

Colby Lewis – 4-3, 3.34 ERA, 69/5 K/BB in 59 1/3 IP

Lewis is off last year’s pace, as he went 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA and a
183/27 K/BB ratio in 178 innings in his first season with the Carp.
Still, there would likely be several teams interested if he opted to
return to the majors.

Mike Schultz – 2-0, 1 Sv, 1.17 ERA, 32/6 K/BB in 30 2/3 IP

Schultz’s major league experience consists of one inning with the
Diamondbacks in 2007. He was a fringe relief prospect for several years
before finding himself in Japan.

Marc Kroon – 0-1, 11 Sv, 1.13 ERA, 27/12 K/BB in 24 IP

Kroon’s outstanding fastball never made him a successful major
leaguer, as he gave up 23 runs and walked 26 in 26 2/3 innings in parts
of four seasons before leaving for Japan in 2005. He’s since saved 136
games as one of Japan’s premier closers.

Darrell Rasner – 3-4, 6.62 ERA, 34/16 K/BB in 51 2/3 IP

Rasner was the top pitcher to jump to Japan over the winter, with
the Yankees reportedly receiving $1 million for his rights. The move,
though, hasn’t worked out Rakuten so far.

Kazuhisa Ishii – 3-5, 5.33 ERA, 63/25 K/BB in 54 IP

The now 35-year-old Ishii has seen his ERA increase every season
since returning to Japan, going from 3.44 to 2006 to 4.14 in 2007 and
4.32 last year (he did switch from the non-DH league to the DH league
after 2007, so he was probably better in 2008 than the previous year).

Brian Falkenborg – 3-0, 1 Sv, 0.92 ERA, 35/2 K/B in 29 1/3 IP

Falkenborg had seen major league action in each of the last five
seasons, but since he never could establish himself, he opted to go to
Japan prior to this year. It seems likely to pay off, as he’s been one
of the country’s best relievers so far.

Others

Justin Germano – 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 2/0 K/BB in 12 1/3 IP
Ryan Glynn – 2-8, 5.05 ERA, 31/22 K/BB in 62 1/3 IP
Dicky Gonzalez – 6-1, 2.11 ERA, 33/4 K/BB in 55 1/3 IP
Seth Greisinger – 6-4, 4.26 ERA, 47/10 K/BB in 76 IP
Kameron Loe – 0-4, 6.33 ERA, 18/12 K/BB in 27 IP
Brian Sweeney – 2-3, 5.94 ERA, 28/21 K/BB in 53 IP
Les Walrond – 3-6, 3.72 ERA, 56/30 K/BB in 65 1/3 IP
John Wasdin – 2-2, 5.04 ERA, 10/11 K/BB in 30 1/3 IP

Scott Atchison – 3-2, 0 Sv, 2.91 ERA, 32/10 K/BB in 34 IP
Ricky Barrett – 0-1, 0 Sv, 5.40 ERA, 3/8 K/BB in 8 1/3 IP
Scott Dohmann – 0-0, 0 Sv, 17.28 ERA, 4/7 K/BB in 8 1/3 IP
Alex Graman – 0-2, 3 Sv, 5.40 ERA, 1/2 K/BB in 5 IP
Marcus Gwyn – 1-1, 1 Sv, 2.70 ERA, 22/11 K/BB in 23 1/3 IP
Jon Leicester – 0-1, 0 Sv, 4.32 ERA, 10/4 K/BB in 8 1/3 IP
Masao Kida – 3-3, 0 Sv, 5.67 ERA, 19/14 K/BB in 33 1/3 IP
Satoru Komiyama – 1-0, 0 Sv, 10.13 ERA, 7/1 K/BB in 13 1/3 IP
Michael Nakamura – 1-1, 0 Sv, 7.04 ERA, 12/7 K/BB in 15 1/3 IP
Tom Mastny – 0-2, 0 Sv, 4.14 ERA, 24/15 K/BB in 37 IP
Maximo Nelson – 0-2, 1 Sv, 3.81 ERA, 23/10 K/BB in 26 IP
Nelson Payano – 0-0, 0 Sv, 1.74 ERA, 13/7 K/BB in 10 1/3 IP
Brian Sikorski – 4-2, 1 Sv, 1.40 ERA, 30/8 K/BB in 25 2/3 IP
Kazuhito Tadano – 2-2, 0 Sv, 7.71 ERA, 8/7 K/BB in 21 IP
Ryan Vogelsong – 0-3, 0 Sv, 6.84 ERA, 33/10 K/BB in 25 IP
Jeff Williams – 1-1, 0 Sv, 3.28 ERA, 33/14 K/BB in 24 2/3 IP

Athletics hire third base coach Matt Williams

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The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.

Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.

Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.

While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.

“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”