TOKYO (AP) - Japanese baseball officials have been criticized for introducing a new ball this season without notifying players.
With nearly 60 games already played, Nippon Professional Baseball acknowledged this week for the first time that a new ball was being used. The new, livelier ball has resulted in more home runs.
NPB had previously denied this year's increase in home runs had anything to do with changes to the baseball.
``There was absolutely no intent to hide the truth,'' NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato said Wednesday. ``We are sorry for any inconvenience we have caused.''
An NPB spokesman said the balls used last season did not meet certain standards and the new balls were introduced to conform to the rules.
Many players criticized the practices of NPB.
``We had an idea something was different this season,'' Rakuten Eagles catcher Motohiro Shima said Wednesday. ``Here we are almost 60 games into the season and now they tell us? It's very unfortunate. If they stay with the new ball or go with the old ball, it is problematic at this point of the season.''
Before the 2011 season, different balls were used by the Pacific and Central Leagues. In 2011, NPB introduced a uniform ball to meet international standards.
In the 2011 season, there were 939 home runs and 881 in the 2012 season. The number of home runs in the current season stood at 512 as of Tuesday, on pace for a season total of 1,297.
``Just my personal opinion, but that we are even having this discussion about the ball is embarrassing for Japanese baseball,'' said Yomiuri catcher Shinnosuke Abe.
Following the announcement by NPB, Kyodo news agency reported that a Mizuno spokesman said, ``We are going to let NPB take the lead on this. At this juncture, we are not prepared to comment.''

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Pirates, Cubs kick off highly anticipated series Coming off a four-game sweep of the lowly Brewers, Pittsburgh’s about to undertake a much more daunting assignment.
Thumbnail Mariners vs. Rangers Pick Should the Texas Rangers expect a big win when they host NL West foe, the Seattle Mariners tonight at 8:05PM ET?
Thumbnail Twins vs. Indians Pick Should the Cleveland Indians have any trouble with the Minnesota Twins when the two meet up tonight at 7:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Rays vs. Red Sox Pick Can the Boston Red Sox continue to win with their star pitcher on the mound when they host the Tampa Bay Rays tonight...
Thumbnail Reds vs. Angels Prediction What's the best play tonight in Los Angles where the Angels will host the Reds at 10:05PM ET?
More inMLB Articles  
Advertisement

MLB Team Pages

Advertisement