Baseball: Chunichi name "Mr. Dragons" Tatsunami as new manager

© Kyodo News

The Chunichi Dragons on Friday named their former star infielder Kazuyoshi Tatsunami as new manager of the Central League club.

The 52-year-old, whose club record 2,480 hits is the eighth-most in Nippon Professional Baseball history, accepted an official offer from the club, which is looking to shore up its lackluster offense after finishing fifth in the CL this year.

Tatsunami, known by fans as "Mr. Dragons," will hold a press conference later in the day as he replaces Tsuyoshi Yoda, who is stepping down at the end of his three-year contract.

Joining the Dragons as their top draft pick in 1988, Tatsunami was named Rookie of the Year after earning a regular spot in the team. He stayed with the club for his entire career, retiring at the end of the 2009 season.

He served as Japan's batting coach for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and was named to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Tatsunami has worked with Dragons players as a special coach during spring training.

Chunichi will also appoint former Hanshin Tiger Atsushi Kataoka, Tatsunami's classmate at PL Gakuen High School in Osaka Prefecture, as its new second-team manager. Former Dragons pitcher Eiji Ochiai is also set to rejoin the club as a coach.