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Ryoji Aikawa

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Ryoji Aikawa (transliterated as Ryouji Aikawa)

BR minors page

[edit] Biographical Information

Ryoji Aikawa hit .390 in high school, being converted from the outfield to catcher his last year. In the 1994 NPB draft, he was picked in the fifth round by the Yokohama BayStars. He spent the next few years at ni-gun, not playing for Yokohama until '99, when he went 2 for 8 in eight games. In 2000 and 2001, Aikawa saw scant playing time for the BayStars, hitting .219/.266/.247 and .234/.235/.359; the latter season, he hit his first NPB homer off of high school teammate Hirotoshi Ishii. In 2002, Ryoji hit .224/.257/.276 as the primary backup to Takeshi Nakamura; he kept that role in 2003 and improved to .248/.294/.400 with 5 HR in 165 AB. In 2004, Aikawa became the starter and batted .263/.292/.401. He represented Japan in the 2004 Olympics as well that summer. The next year, the BayStars backstop caught in 144 of the team's 146 games (his hand swelled up at one point catching the 100-mph fastballs thrown by closer Marc Kroon) and hit .259/.316/.347 to finish the year with a career line of .250/.293/.351. He also was serving as the union representative for Yokohama by this time.

Aikawa played for Japan in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, going 1 for 2 in his only game as the third-stringer behind Tomoya Satozaki and Motonobu Tanishige. His 2006 line was .245/.301/.340. He hit .302/.369/.353 in a resurgent 2007 to finish 8th in the Central League in batting average.

A free agent after 2008, he sought offers from the USA but did not win a contract with a MLB team. He instead signed with the Yakult Swallows for 450 million yen over 3 years.

His hobbies are fishing, going to concerts and weight training.

Primary source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland

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