Katsuhiko Kumazaki

The balls in Japan are juiced again


Last year a scandal erupted in Japanese baseball when NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato admitted that the league had doctored the baseballs in order to generate more offense. It was so bad that he ended up resigning in September.

You can bet your bippy that no one in Japan is gonna repeat THAT blunder again:

The commissioner of Japanese baseball has apologized after random tests showed the official ball is livelier than it should be.

The tests revealed that balls used at six stadiums on March 29 were livelier than they should have been.

Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki says, “I want to apologize for causing a commotion.”

Kind of embarrassing that, for the second year in a row, the Japanese baseball commissioner is apologizing for the same thing. On the bright side, that’s two more apologies than Bud Selig has ever offered.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.