Shinnosuke Abe of the Yomiuri Giants strikes out in the bottom of 2nd inning during the exhibition game between Yomiuri Giants and the MLB All Stars at Tokyo Dome on November 8, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Yomiuri Giants manager Shinnosuke Abe signed a three-year contract with the organization after being promoted on Thursday and started to work at the team’s farm system stadium in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan on Saturday, Yahoo Japan News reported on October 12.
Abe, who had previously been the hitting coach, will take over from recently-retired Tatsunori Hara for the upcoming 2024 Nippon Professional Baseball season.
This past season, Hara did not get the organization to the playoffs, going 71-70-2 and finishing in fourth place.
Hara has had three separate managerial stints during his career with the Giants, from 2002-03, 2006-15, and from 2019 through this season, for a total of 17 seasons. Hara also helped the Giants win nine consecutive Central League titles along with three Japan Series championship titles.
During Hara’s career managing the Giants, he recorded 1,290 wins, which is the most wins by any manager in franchise history, along with 1,025 losses and 91 ties.
Hara also managed for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, helping the nation win their second WBC title in the second edition of the tournament.
The Giants have not made the NPB playoffs since being swept in the best-of-five 2021 Central League Climax Series to their arch cross town rivals the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Abe retired from playing as a catcher in NPB in 2019 after 19 seasons with the Giants, and in 2020, he was hired as the Giants farm team coach for two seasons before being promoted in the 2022 season to be the main club’s operations and defense coach.
Abe played in 2,282 games with the Giants, batting .284 in 8,651 plate appearances with 2,132 hits, 355 doubles, nine triples, 406 home runs, and 1,285 RBI during his NPB career.
“I’ve been saying the word ‘champion’ lately, as have key players on the team. I think we can all change. If we all change, I am sure we can be champions,” Abe stated to Yahoo Japan News on Thursday.
Abe will assess the Giants farm system during these next few months during the Miyazaki Phoenix League season, which started this past Monday, before prepping for the 2024 regular season when NPB camps start in the middle of January.