How Five Former Mets Players Ended Up Managing in Japan

“For lunch we smeared peanut butter and jelly over two pieces of bread and called that a meal,” he said in Japanese. “For showering, we got these ragged towels that barely dried us. It made me realize that the guys who actually make it to the big leagues must have such a will to fight by surviving that environment to emerge from it after so long.”

When he found out that Gosuke Katoh, a player who had fought his way through nine seasons in such conditions, was available, Shinjo urged the Fighters to sign him. He thought that Katoh’s hunger could be a great motivator for his young, developing team.

Katoh was born in Japan but raised in the United States, and he was drafted by the Yankees in the second round in 2013. After signing with Toronto as a minor league free agent in 2022, he finally made it to the majors, appearing in eight games for the Blue Jays. But he was subsequently waived and signed with, of course, the Mets, spending the remainder of the season with Class AAA Syracuse before joining the Fighters over the off-season.

Shinjo’s Fighters finished last in Japan’s Pacific League in his managerial debut season last year and are languishing once again in 2023. Yoshii’s Marines were leading the Pacific League ahead of this week’s games, Matsui’s Lions were in fifth and Ishii’s Golden Eagles were last.

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