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Pre-Season: Houlton Looks Good; Wally Yonamine Passes at 85

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Pre-Season: Houlton Looks Good; Wally Yonamine Passes at 85

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To say that DJ Houlton's 2010 season was filled with adversity would be an understatement. He did not pitch well at all, and when he did, he would usually get hurt the following start. This is a player who wasn't even tendered a contract by anyone after his release before he re-signed with the Hawks for this year.

Today, he made some strides in a solid three-inning start, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out five Chunichi Dragons today. His counterpart, Daisuke Yamai, was also very good in his three innings, giving up no runs on just two hits with a walk and a strikeout.

The losing pitcher turned out to be Yao-hsun Yang, who gave up three runs in three innings of work, all of them coming in the 6th inning from the bat of Kazuhiro Wada, who incidentally was the sole source of offense for the Dragons today.

Offense for the Hawks came off Maximo Nelson in the middle innings, to the tune of three runs. The Hawks got one in the 5th and two in the 6th from Kawasaki and Matsuda, with a wild pitch forcing another run in.

For the Hawks, the other pitchers were Tadashi Settsu, Yuki Shimooki, and Yasushi Kamiuchi. Each went one inning and only Shimooki gave up a hit. Settsu struck out the side in his inning, and Kamiuchi got a punch-out of his own.

Offensive notables: Seiichi Uchikawa remains hit-less in the preseason, going 0-for-2 with a walk. His replacement, hotshot outfielder Yuki Yanagida, struck out in his only at-bat. Toru Hosokawa went 1-for-3 with a single and Alex Cabrera went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

The Hawks' next preseason game comes tomorrow at Yahoo! Dome as they welcome the Hanshin Tigers, continuing their string of Central League opponents.

In other baseball news, Yomiuri Giants great and NPB pioneer Wallace Kaname "Wally" Yonamine passed away yesterday at the age of 85 after a long battle with prostate cancer. The 1994 Hall of Fame inductee and Hawaii native played with the Giants from 1954 until 1960 before ending his career with the Chunichi Dragons in 1962.

He was the 1957 Central League MVP, led the league in hitting three times (1954, 1956, 1957), made the Best Nine from 1952-1958, and was an All-Star from 1952-1959. He also managed Chunichi from 1972-1977, and won the CL Pennant in 1974. His total managerial record was 388-349-43.

SoftBank Hawks general manager Sadaharu Oh had this to say in the wake of Yonamine's passing:

"The first autograph I got when I visited Korakuen Stadium when I was an elementary school kid was Yonamine-san's. You could say that he was my mentor for every facet of the game of baseball when I turned pro. He was a very gentle man and to have to part ways like this is really disappointing."
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