Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Makita and Akiyama to represent the Lions for Samurai Japan

Shogo Akiyama and Kazuhisa Makita will be the two Saitama Seibu Lions who will be representing Japan.

UPDATE: The full 28-man roster has been announced. 

Makita said that he was "honored" to play for the country and remembers being part of the team's defeat at the 20013 WBC event. Japan's national team made the finals in San Francisco, only to lose to Puerto Rico by a score of 3-1.

This will be Akiyama's first time participating in the WBC. He was part of Samurai Japan during the Premier 12 event at the end of 2015.

Makita is no stranger to the bullpen, where he was a closer in his rookie season of 2011. After spending a few years as a starter, the Lions put him back in the bullpen for 2016 after seeing how effective he was during the Premier 12. He proved to be the best middle reliever on the Lions as a setup man as well someone who can take extra innings in long relief.

Akiyama is coming off a season where he hit .296 and was still the team's leadoff hitter for most of the year. He was the only Lion to play in every inning of 2016 after having a historic 2015 season breaking Matt Murton's single-season record for hits.

Here is the full roster of players who will play for for Samurai Japan in 2017:


Pitchers (13): 

SP Shohei Otani (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters)

SP/RP Hirotoshi Masui (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters)

SP Takahiro Norimoto (Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles)

SP Tomoyuki Sugano (Yomiuri Giants)

SP Shintaro Fujinami (Hanshin Tigers)

SP Ayumu Ishikawa (Chiba Lotte Marines)

SP Kodai Senga (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks)

RP Naoki Miyanishi (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters)

RP Ryo Akiyoshi (Tokyo Yakult Swallows)

RP Kazuhisa Makita (Saitama Seibu Lions)

RP Toshiya Okada (Chunichi Dragons)

RP Yuki Matsui (Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles)

RP Yoshihisa Hirano (Orix Buffaloes)


Catchers (3): 

Motohiro Shima (Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles)

Shota Ono (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters)

Seiji Kobayashi (Yomiuri Giants)


Infielders (5): 

1B Sho Nakata (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters)

2B Ryosuke Kikuchi (Hiroshima Carp)

SS Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri Giants)

2B Tetsuto Yamada (Tokyo Yakult Swallows)

3B Nobuhiro Matsuda (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks)

SS Kosuke Tanaka (Hiroshima Carp)


Outfielders (6): 

Seiichi Uchikawa (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks)

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Yokohama DeNA Baystars)

Shogo Akiyama (Saitama Seibu Lions)

Seiya Suzuki (Hiroshima Carp)

Norichika Aoki (Houston Astros)

Ryosuke Hirata (Chunichi Dragons)


Japan's first game will be on March 7 against Cuba at Tokyo Dome in pool play.


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