Friday, July 13, 2012

Aftermath of the Tony Blanco Injury

The Dragons will likely be losing a lot of offensive production over the next couple months due to Tony Blanco's broken hand.  It sounds like there is a good chance that Blanco will be able to return in time for the playoffs, but Takagi will have to come up with some short-term solutions to keep Chunichi in the hunt for a league championship and playoff home-field advantage. 
He does have several options, and I'm sure he will probably try out all of them especially if nothing pans out immediately.  The two most obvious choices would be to try to milk as much offense out of the elderly Takeshi Yamasaki as possible or moving Masahiko Morino over to first base.  So far Yamasaki has been Takagi's choice, but he hasn't gotten much from him in the first few games.  Moving Morino over means that Shuhei Takahashi and Naomichi Donoue would get most of the time a third.  That's complicated even more by Araki's hamstring injury, as Donoue is also the best candidate to fill in at second.  So putting Morino at 1B would force Takahashi to play everyday for now, and he doesn't look to be ready for that role yet.
Other options include Victor Diaz, who is now up with the ichi-gun and has played infield in the minor leagues, playing Naomichi Donoue at first and Iwasaki at 2B, Nobumasa Fukuda who as played about everywhere else on the field.
An option that would make a lot of sense offensively would be to throw Takehiro Donoue out there, he was originally a first baseman before being moved to the outfield.  T. Donoue doesn't really have a place in the outfield right now and has swung the bat well in limited time, so it would be worth a shot.
We will see what Takagi goes with, so far while I haven't really liked a lot of Takagi's comments in interviews, he does seem to make pretty solid decisions as far as playing time.
Until Masahiro Araki comes back which could be a couple more weeks or more, hamstring injuries seem to linger, I would keep Naomichi Donoue at 2B, Morino at 3B, and do a bit of a platoon with T. Donoue and Diaz at first to see if one can play themselves into the job.  Yamasaki would remain as the veteran bat on the bench.  Then once or twice a week I would play Morino at 1B and Takahashi at 3B.  One thing is for sure, this team would be in serious trouble if they had another injury on the infield right now.

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