Sunday, December 27, 2015

Report: Seibu Lions will try out Shogo Kimura, other players in training camp

The Saitama Seibu Lions will bring in IF Shogo Kimura for a tryout in spring training this February, according to a report by Daily Sports. There will be several other players participating, but Kimura is the most notable of the bunch.

Kimura, who will be 36 in April, has been a part time player throughout his career and was last with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp from 2008-2015. He was one of six players to file for free agency in November.

Training camp will take place in Miyazaki prefecture, which is south of Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu.

After auditioning in a scheduled tryout, the Lions will have 10 days to decide if they want to sign anyone to their 70-man roster. Currently, they have 68 players on their roster with two spots open. They don't have any players under an ikusei contract.

Kimura hit .269 in just 72 games with the Carp in 2015. He was previously with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars from 2003-2007 before he signed with Hiroshima. Kimura is a lifetime .265 hitter who can play 3B, SS and 1B on the infield. He also has history as an outfielder.

With Kimura being a Type C free agent, there would be no need to pay compensation to the Carp if the Lions pick him up. The Lions signed former Orix Buffaloes OF Naotaka Takehara after he passed his tryout in November.

If the Lions were to sign Kimura, he would be a bench player for depth on the infield. They already Yuji Kaneko, Yuji Onizaki and Shuta Tonosaki for SS while Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura and Naoto Watanabe can cover 3B.

The Lions were reported to want Okawari-kun's workload reduced at 3B and give him more games at DH. If Norio Tanabe wanted to be outside the box, he could play RF in a similar manner where Ryota Wakiya did.

The Lions lost Wakiya in free agency to the Yomiuri Giants last month.


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