Some notable numbers from Japan: Pacific League stats

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Now a look through the Pacific League stats. It’s all about the pitching there right now: in a six-team league, there are 12 starters with sub-2.00 ERAs.

Here was the Central League rundown, if you missed it.

First the bats:

Aarom Baldiris: .231/.329/.331, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB in 121 AB
Dee Brown: .161/.188/.194, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB in 31 AB
Alex Cabrera: .184/.247/.320, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB in 147 AB
Jose Fernandez: .239/.274/.394, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB in 155 AB
Mike Hessman: .210/.264/.395, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB in 81 AB
Micah Hoffpauir: .240/.306/.463, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB in 121 AB
Tadahito Iguchi: .351/.465/.520, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 0 SB in 148 AB
Akinori Iwamura: .165/.226/.195, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB in 77 AB
Kaz Matsui: .238/.286/.348, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB in 164 AB
Jose Ortiz: .234/.308/.447, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB in 47 AB
Randy Ruiz: .155/.183/.293, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB in 58 AB
So Taguchi: .364/.462/.439, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB in 66 AB

– Cabrera, Japan’s top power hitter over the last 10 years, appears to be fading at age 39.  The current Pacific League home run leader is Takeya Nakamura with 13.

– Former Royals prospect Dee Brown put together a respectable first year in Japan in 2010, hitting .241/.319/.436 with 21 homers and 76 RBI.  However, he’s going to need to bounce back in a big way if he expects the Seibu Lions to bring him back in 2012.

– Taguchi is having an exceptional year as a part-timer even though he’s less than four weeks away from turning 42.

Pitching:

Yu Darvish: 8-1, 1.42 ERA, 83/10 K/BB in 76 IP
Alfredo Figaro: 5-2, 1.73 ERA, 40/16 K/BB in 52 IP
Alex Graman: 1-0, 1 Sv, 3.65 ERA, 6/9 K/BB in 12.1 IP
D.J. Houlton: 6-2, 2.10 ERA, 41/7 K/BB in 55.2 IP
Kazuhisa Ishii: 2-2, 4.32 ERA, 25/5 K/BB in 25 IP
Hisashi Iwakuma: 3-2, 1.72 ERA, 418 K/BB in 47 IP
Bob Keppel: 5-1, 2.47 ERA, 17/17 K/BB in 51 IP
Bill Murphy: 2-1, 3.31 ERA, 12/12 K/BB in 32.2 IP
Chan Ho Park: 1-5, 4.29 ERA, 21/12 K/BB in 42 IP
Hayden Penn: 1-0, 1.11 ERA, 3/2 K/BB in 8 IP
Darrell Rasner: 2-2, 3.57 ERA, 17/12 K/BB in 22.2 IP
Carlos Rosa: 0-3, 2.66 ERA, 17/3 K/BB in 23 2/3 IP
Romulo Sanchez: 0-2, 4.73 ERA, 18/7 K/BB in 13.1 IP
Ryan Speier: 1-1, 6 Sv, 2.40 ERA, 17/2 K/BB in 15 IP
Brian Wolfe: 6-1, 2.44 ERA, 26/12 K/BB in 48 IP

– Darvish is third in the league with his 1.42 ERA.  His last three starts have all been shutouts, tying a record in Japan.  There hasn’t been much chatter of late about him coming over to the U.S. in 2012, but that may pick up again as the year goes on. Still years away from free agency, he’d have to be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

– Iwakuma was won by the A’s through the posting system last winter, then returned to Japan after failing to work out a contract.  He’ll be a free agent this winter, allowing him to negotiate with every team, and expectations are that he will make the jump to MLB.

– As Aaron mentioned last week, Park was recently sent to the minors by the Buffaloes.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.