I'd been meaning to do a post about the Japanese players playing in foreign winter leagues this off-season but I simply haven't had time to do the research. And since most of them are returning home before the end of the year, I probably won't bother now.
I do want to point out, though, that the Australian Baseball League is having their first ever All Star Game this Wednesday. It will pit a team of Australian players against a team of international players, including several NPB players - Hiroshi Katayama of the Eagles; Kenta Imamiya, Ayatsugu Yamashita and Yohei Yanagawa of the Hawks; and Yusei Kikuchi and Fumikazu Kimura of the Lions. The rosters of the two teams also include former NBP players Chris Oxspring and Dae-Sung Koo (who I thought had retired).
The game will be shown here in the States on the MLB Network Wednesday at 1 PM EST.
I thought I'd show a card of Yusei Kikuchi this week. It's kind of odd - he was the hot rookie of 2010 but he didn't have any cards in the major BBM sets for 2011 (although he was in the Calbee, Konami and Owner's League issues - thanks Jason!). I'm pretty sure the only BBM set he appeared in was the Lions team set. Here's his 2010 Calbee rookie card (#078):