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Japan Series Notebook: Fouling up Kroon's R&R plans

by John E. Gibson (Nov 9, 2008)

Although the end of the road for the long Japan season is in sight, Yomiuri closer Marc Kroon knows he may have to go the extra mile.

Before the Japan Series, Kroon said he wanted to return to the United States as soon as possible to catch up on quality time with his family.

He knew the Asia Series, which starts on Thursday between the champions of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China, was a possibility if the Giants won the championship, but he thought he could skip the Tokyo Dome tournament.

With a Japan Series victory still possible, it looks like the flame-throwing right-hander might be thrown back into the heat of battle.

"I have to stay," Kroon said prior to Game 6 on Saturday at Tokyo Dome. Other than that, the closer had no comment on the subject.

He is contractually obligated through the end of November, and that struck down his plans to bolt after the Series.

The Giants want to put their best team on the field for the Asian Series, which includes the other champions from Asia: South Korea's SK Wyverns, Taiwan's Uni-President Lions and China's Tianjin Lions.

A FOOT IN THE GROUND: Alex Ramirez legged out a double in the Game 5 win that put the Giants up 3-2 in the Series, but it was a close call all around.

The slugger hit a shot up the middle that caromed off second base and kicked into right field. The outfielder, listed at 1.80 meters and 86 kilograms, shifted into high gear and chugged toward second base.

He slid in safely with a double, but Seibu second baseman Yasuyuki Kataoka kept the glove on the Giants cleanup man as he lost his balance. Ramirez admitted his foot came off the bag while the glove was on him, but said he got a nudge.

"After he touched me, he pushed me and the umpire said, 'No, no, no, no. Safe,' because he realized that [Kataoka] pushed me," Ramirez said.

Without Kataoka applying the pressure, Ramirez said he would have stayed on the bag. "I lost it [my balance], but I was OK. If you have somebody pushing you, of course you're going to lose your balance," Ramirez said.

The 34-year-old said his days of being a terror on the basepaths are long gone.

"I was fast [some years ago]. But after you put on some weight..."

This season, Ramirez attempted only one steal--and was successful.


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