Japanese prospect Kikuchi to announce decision

Leave a comment

18-year-old Japanese left-hander
Yusei Kikuchi has scheduled a press conference for Sunday to announce
whether he will pitch in the United States or remain in Japan.
According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker,
recent media reports in Japan suggest that he will begin his career in Japan, however he also mentions the media are “hearing what they want to hear” in regards to the teenage phenom.



According to the Japan Times, Kikuchi has met with 20 Japanese and major league baseball clubs,
including the Dodgers, Red Sox, Rangers, Giants, Mariners, Mets,
Yankees and Indians. The Rangers have pushed hard to sign Kikuchi,
even sending Derek Holland to Japan as part of their pitch.



The Nippon Professional Baseball draft is five days away, of which
Kikuchi is expected to be the No. 1 selection. The teenage southpaw
threw a 96 MPH fastball during the National High School Invitational in
April, the fastest pitch ever thrown by a left-hander since the radar
gun was introduced in national high school tournaments in 1980. If
Kikuchi decides to bypass the NPB draft, he would be following in the
footsteps of Junichi Tazawa, who signed a three-year, $3 million
contract with the Red Sox last December.

Yankees defeat Blue Jays to clinch postseason spot

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.

Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:

Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.

Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.

Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.

Watch: Brian Dozier pulls off a bunt home run

Getty Images
1 Comment

Brian Dozier had a bonafide Little League moment during Saturday’s contest against the Tigers. In the first inning, the Twins’ second baseman squared up a bunt against Detroit left-hander Matt Boyd, which was scooped by Jeimer Candelario halfway up the third base line. The throw to first skirted the bag, allowing Dozier to touch all the bases and slide home to score the Twins’ first run of the game.

In other words, it was just your run-of-the-mill bunt home run:

Officially, the play was scored as a single and run scored on a throwing error. Still, if this is a sampling of the kind of plays we can expect to see from the Twins this October, it’s shaping up to be one wacky postseason.