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2/5/08 The Nationals Sign Katsuhiko Maekawa and Fact-Checks the AP..."

     All the way back on December 7, 2007, Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga reported on the Nationals' interest in Japanese-born pitcher Katsuhiko Maekawa, 29, a veteran of 10 Japanese Baseball League seasons in both the Pacific and Central Leagues with the Osaka Kinetsu Buffaloes, Hanshin Tigers and, most recently, the Orix Buffaloes in 2006, for whom Maekawa was (1-7) with a 5.26 ERA (or 4.37 ERA depending upon where you look) in 59.2 innings over which he struck out 46 batters. (1)

     Barry Svrluga's 12/7 article entitled, "Japanese Pitchers Attracting Interest", noted the Nationals' interest in tapping the Japanese player market, or as Mr. Svrluga wrote:

          "Nationals President Stan Kasten has long professed an
          interest in getting involved in Asia, and the club sent Mike
          Rizzo, the team's vice president of baseball operations,
          and scout Bill Singer to Japan late in the ('07) regular

     Over his 10 seasons in Japan, Katsuhiko Maekawa has appeared in 149 games and 609 innings, collecting a (31-45) record, with a combined 5.26 ERA/4.37 ERA(1) and 417 K's, with most of Maekawa's appearances as a reliever, though Mr. Svrluga describes Maekawa as, "flexible enough to serve as a starter, long reliever or left-handed specialist."

     Maekawa pitched as starter for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League this, uh, winter, with a 2-1 record and 1.82 ERA, 19 hits allowed, 6 earned runs against, 10 walks and 19 K's in 7 starts and 29.2 IP, and Mr. Svrluga quoted one unnamed source who saw Maekawa in the Dominican League and was impressed enough that he/she stated, "I'd sign him up right now."

     ...and less than two months later,'s Bill Ladson is reporting that the Nationals have indeed signed Katsuhiko Maekawa to, "...a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training," according to Mr. Ladson's article, "Notes: Slowes set for fourth season", while Barry Svrluga confirms the signing in his "Nationals Journal" post entitled, "Roster moves: Japanese lefty Maekawa signed to minor league deal", where Mr. Svrluga writes:

          "...they've (the Nationals) signed him to a minor league
          deal, meaning he would have a chance to make the team in
          spring training, or perhaps link on with the club in Class

     The scouting report on Katsuhiko Maekawa according to, which bills itself as, "America's #1 Source for Fantasy Sports News":

          "Maekawa had a 5.26 ERA(1) and a 417/345 K/BB ratio in
          609 innings during his career in Japan. He did go 2-1 with
          a 1.82 ERA in seven starts in the Dominican Republic over
          the winter, but he hardly seems like a good bet for major
          league success."

(1) Another stat controversy...

These three sites sites:

     ...Have Katsuhiko Maekawa going (1-7) with a 4.37 ERA in '06 for Orix, with a 5.26 career ERA, while Bill Ladson writes:

          "Maekawa, 29, most recently pitched for Orix Buffaloes in
          Japan's Pacific League in 2006, going 1-7 with a 5.26  

     ...and Mr. Svrluga as well writes:

          "...He(Maekawa) was the No. 1 draft pick by the Kinetsu
          Buffaloes in 1997. He's 29, and was 1-7 with a 5.26 ERA
          with Orix in 2006."

     ...and the's AP story, "Nationals sign Japanese LHP Katsuhiko Maekawa" also says:

          "The 29-year-old Maekawa most recently pitched for
          Japanese club Orix in 2006, going 1-7 with a 5.26 ERA."

For a tiebreaker, we go to sides with the three stat pages, and as lists Maekawa's record in '06 with the Orix at (1-7) with a 4.37 ERA.

Is the AP to blame for disseminating the false stats?

*Katsuhiko Maekawa Links*

Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga's article, "Japanese Pitchers Attracting Interest", at

Katsuhiko Maekawa's Dominican Winter League profile at ;pid=527128's Bill Ladson's article, "Notes: Slowes set for fourth season", at ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga's "Nationals Journal" post, "Roster moves: Japanese lefty Maekawa signed to minor league deal", at