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Top Team coaches announced! Makoto Kaneko for head coach "Relationship where we can say what we want to say to each other to win"

September 11, 2017

 NPB Enterprise held a press conference in Tokyo on Sept 11 and announced the outline of "ENEOS Asia Professional Baseball Championship 2017"(held from Nov 16 this year) and Samurai Japan Top Team's new coaching staff.

 This new event is held by the three professional baseball organizations, Korea (KBO), Chinese Taipei (CPBL) and Japan (NPB), aiming at the development of the Asian baseball world. It is scheduled to be held every four years, and the first tournament will be held in Japna, but the future event will be conducted with the possibility of holding it in Korea or Chinese Taipei. New manager Atsunori Inaba's first game is against Korea, which will be held at 7 pm on Nov 16.
 As of coaching staff who faces the games with the new manager Inaba leading the team, Makoto Kaneko, current batting coach for Hokkaido Nippon-Ham, assumes the position of the head coach. Yoshinori Tateyama, Inaba's then-teammate at Hokkaido Nippon-Ham, assumes the position of pitching coach. Masaji Shimizu assumes the position of outfield and base-running coach and manager Inaba was coached by Shimizu when he was active. The choice of the coaches shows the deep nature of relationship with the manager.
 Also, Hirokazu Ibata, current infield and base-running coach for the Giants and Inaba's then teammate as Samurai Japan, assumes the position of infield and base-running coach. Yoshinori Murata (current pitcher/catcher coach for the Giants in the Big League) who was a coach as well as Inaba at WBC in spring this year assumes the position of pitcher/catcher coach. Only the batting coach is scheduled to be announced later.

Inaba said, "I have said to them that I want to make the team strong by everybody giving opinions. I have a relationship where we can say what we want to say to each other (with this coaching staff). I want to make sure that we communicate well and work together for the final goal of winning a gold medal (in 2020)." The players will be chosen under the rule that eligible players are within three years of turning pro or under twenty four years old with three over-age brackets. Inaba will keep working on the selection from now on and said, "It's a priority to win," but stated at the same time, "I think that it is necessary to consider with eyes set for the future."
 While questions such as the U-18 national team who just finished a tournament were fired away, Inaba showed his toned facial expression throughout and finished the press conference.

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