It's been a week since the Tokyo Yakult Swallows officially named their manager for next season, but the decision's impact has yet to hit interim skipper Junji Ogawa.
"Frankly, I've just been to busy," Ogawa told The Daily Yomiuri at Yokohama Stadium on Tuesday. "We still have a job to do this season."
The team began play on Tuesday with just the faintest hopes of reaching the playoffs. Three losses will mathematically eliminate the Swallows, who would need help to reach the postseason even with a perfect record in their final eight games.
"When the season is done, then I'll have time to think about what it means, and start thinking about next season," said Ogawa, who became interim skipper after manager Shigeru Takada stepped down on May 26.
"The team had hit rock bottom. When that happens players know they have to do something to escape that miserable situation. Their response was to come together."
As of Monday, the Swallows were 54-33-3 under Ogawa.
The club had reportedly waffled between keeping Ogawa on or giving the managing job to popular pitching coach Daisuke Araki.
Lions to drop Kudo
The Saitama Seibu Lions have told 47-year-old lefty Kimiyasu Kudo he will not be back for the 2011 season.
Kudo, who signed with the Lions out of high school in 1982 also starred for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks and Yomiuri Giants. He has a career record of 224-142 with three saves, but Kudo went 0-2, allowing seven runs in six innings this season, his first with Seibu since 1996.
According to team sources, Kudo intended to continue pitching in Japan or abroad.
Kudo met with a team official on Tuesday before practice with the Lions farm team. Afterward, he said: "There are rules that need to be observed, but when the time comes, I have some things I want to say publicly."
In other Japanese baseball news:
--Veteran Hawks outfielder Arihito Muramatsu said Tuesday he no longer felt fast enough to play at the top level and that this would be his final season.