Thursday, November 3, 2016

Three Lions to work down under with the Melbourne Aces in Australian Baseball League

Graphic Via Melbourne Aces
The Saitama Seibu Lions continued their offseason partnership with the Melbourne Aces as the latter announced three players joining them for the season. Pitchers Keisuke Honda and Shogo Noda as well as outfield Hitoto Komazuki are going to be working Down Under for the winter (summer down under) in Australia.

All three players will be with the Aces from November 14 to December 25.

Honda, 23, was the Lions 6th round draft pick in 2015 and is more remembered for sharing the same name (sound and kanji) as a midfielder currently playing for AC Milan. He was given one spot start last year and made his ichi-gun debut out of the bullpen in September.

For the U23 World Cup in Mexico, Honda was the opening starter where he pitched 7 shutout innings and should appear for the next round for Samurai Japan's team. He was the only Lion to be represented for Samurai Japan.

Noda, 23, was a third round pick in 2015 out of an industrial league team. He would become part of the bullpen in the middle of the year and served as a lefty specialist. At one point in the season, he would receive some high leverage innings as a setup man. In 22 games, he registered 18.1 innings with a 3.93 ERA to go with 15 strikeouts and five walks.

Komazuki, 23, was drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2011 NPB Draft. He has never played an ichi-gun game and has remained buried in the farm. He also never had a batting average above .230 in his ni-gun career. Last season, he had a slashline of .230/.314/.362 with the Lions farm team, who went 58-48-8, which was good for third place in the Eastern League.

This will be the sixth consecutive year that the Lions send players to get work with the Aces as it began in the fall (spring down under) of 2011. Notable players who have been sent to Australia on the current Lions 70-man roster includes Yusei Kikuchi, Yasuo Sano, Fumikazu Kimura, Hirotaka Koishi, Makoto Aiuchi, Toshihiro Iwao, Komei Fujisawa, Shota Nakata, Isamu Sato, Kazuki Miyata, Kentaro Fukukura and Ryohei Fujiwara.


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