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RECAP: Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB)

 Conor Liguori  |    May 22nd, 2024 7:00am EDT

Yu Darvish Secures Win No. 200  


San Diego Padres Japanese starting pitcher Yu Darvish won the 200th game of his professional baseball career on Sunday in a 9-1 win against the Atlanta Braves. Darvish, 37, has 107 wins in his 12-year MLB career and won 93 games in his Nippon Professional Baseball career from 2005-11 with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.  

Darvish trails only Hiroki Kuroda (203) and Hideo Nomo (201) for the most combined wins among Japanese-born pitchers.  

“I understand it’s a big number, but it’s still hard for me to comprehend it right now,” Darvish said through an interpreter after Sunday’s game. His next scheduled start is Friday, May 24, against the New York Yankees.  


Miami Marlins Sign RHP Raisei Nakamura to MiLB Contract  


On Friday, the Miami Marlins signed right-handed Japanese pitcher Raisei Nakamura to a minor league contract, the club announced.  

Before signing with Miami, the 21-year-old played for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Western League, NPB’s minor leagues. Between 2022 and 2023, Nakamura pitched six innings and posted a 12.00 ERA with four strikeouts.  

According to Yakyu Cosmopolitan on X, Nakamura averages 90 mph on his fastball and throws a curveball and slider as his secondary pitches. According to his MLB profile, the Marlins have assigned him to the DSL Marlins in the Dominican Summer League.  


Sadaharu Oh Celebrates 84th Birthday  


Sadaharu Oh, the man who holds the world record with 868 career home runs, turned 84 on Monday. He played 22 seasons for the Yomiuri Giants in NPB and is an 11-time Japan Series champion.  

Oh hit 106 more home runs than the all-time MLB leader Barry Bonds and is the all-time NPB leader with a career 1.079 OPS and 2,170 RBI.  


Cuban OF Andy Martin Signs With Ibaraki Astro Planets  


According to The Cuban Baseball Digest, Cuban outfielder Andy Martin signed a contract with the Astro Planets of The Route Inn BCL, an independent minor baseball league in Japan, formerly known as the Baseball Challenge League.  

Martin played five games for the Tigres de Cartagena of Liga Profesional de Béisbol in Colombia during the 2023-24 winter season and hit .154 with six strikeouts in 15 plate appearances. Martin is the younger brother of former MLB outfielder Leonys Martin.  

According to sources close to The Cuban Baseball Digest, the Chiba Lotte Marines in NPB are one organization interested in Martin if he performs well with the Astro Planets.  


This Day in Japanese Baseball History  


On May 21, 2023, Japanese starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani struck out nine in six innings in a 4-2 win for the Los Angeles Angels over the Minnesota Twins.  

Ohtani, now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed one earned run in six innings on an RBI double by Twins shortstop Carlos Correa in the top of the third.  

Ohtani was named the 2016 Pacific League MVP with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and won a Japan Series championship with the club in 2016 over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.  


NPB Standings as of Tuesday, May 21  


Central League  


  1. Hanshin Tigers (22-17-4) 
  2. Hiroshima Toyo Carp (19-15-4) 
  3. Yomiuri Giants (21-19-4) 
  4. Yokohama DeNA BayStars (19-21-1) 
  5. Chunichi Dragons (17-21-5) 
  6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows (17-22-2) 


Pacific League  


  1. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (28-10-2) 
  2. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (22-16-2) 
  3. Chiba Lotte Marines (20-18-3) 
  4. Orix Buffaloes (17-22-2) 
  5. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (17-23-1) 
  6. Saitama Seibu Lions (13-28-0) 


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Conor Liguori