NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato Denies Altered Ball Related To Increase In HRs
Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Ryozo Kato said that "the baseball secretly altered by the Japanese league this season has nothing to do with the record-chasing 52 home runs hit by Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Wladimir Balentien," according to KYODO. This season, Japanese baseball "has seen a marked increase in the number of home runs hit using the livelier ball." Balentien on Friday hit his 52nd home run of the season, "moving to within three of NPB’s record of 55." There are "still 28 games remaining for him to break the record." A third-party panel investigating why NPB altered its baseballs in secret "is set to produce a report on the scandal at the end of September" (KYODO, 9/2).