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.''

Recent MLB Discussions

Top MLB Public Bets

#1 964 Cleveland Indians  96%
#2 961 Chicago Cubs  96%
#3 976 Colorado Rockies  96%
#4 978 Toronto Blue Jays  90%
#6 968 Baltimore Orioles  81%
#8 952 Miami Marlins  77%
#9 974 Minnesota Twins  71%
#10 965 Boston Red Sox  67%

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Mets vs. Pirates Prediction Will Matt Harvey and the Mets upset the Pirates on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball tonight at PNC Park? First pitch is set for 8:00PM ET.
Thumbnail Cubs vs. Dodgers Prediction Will Clayton Kershaw get the best of Jon Lester when the Dodgers go for a sweep against the Cubs at 4:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Diamondbacks vs. Brewers Prediction Will the Brewers earn a split against the Diamondbacks with a win today at 2:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Braves vs. Giants Prediction Will Giants' starter Johnny Cueto shut down the Braves this afternoon when the teams wrap up their series at 4:05PM ET?
Thumbnail Cardinals vs. Rockies Prediction Are the Cardinals a good bet to upset the Rockies this afternoon and win their series in Denver? First pitch is set for 3:10PM ET.

MLB Team Pages