Former Seattle Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima says he still has plenty to learn in Japan after returning from four seasons in the major leagues.
Johjima, the first Japanese catcher to play Major League Baseball, has returned to play for the Hanshin Tigers, one of the most popular teams in Japan.
Coming home may seem like an easy transition for the 33-year-old veteran, but Johjima knows there’s plenty to learn, including a new pitching staff in a league he’s never played in.
Before he left Japan, Johjima was a standout for the small-market Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Pacific League. Playing for the Central League’s Tigers is a whole new ballgame.
The Tigers, who open the season next Friday, haven’t won a Japan Series championship since 1985 and Hanshin’s notoriously vocal fans can be tough on the home team if things don’t go according to plan.
“There’s plenty to learn, a lot of new challenges,” Johjima said on Hanshin’s official Web site. “But without overcoming challenges an athlete can’t make progress.”
After a slow start in exhibition games, Johjima looks to be settling in. He went 3-for-4 with a home run in Hanshin’s 7-6 win over the rival Yomiuri Giants on Tuesday.
Johjima opted out of the final two seasons and US$15.8 million of his contract with Seattle to return home to Japan.
Hanshin manager Akinobu Mayumi, is thrilled to have Johjima on the team.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do for us,” said Mayumi. “He’s a player that can contribute both offensively and defensively.”
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of