Giants give new captain Sakamoto hefty raise

Giants give new captain Sakamoto hefty raise

Infielder Hayato Sakamoto got a nice bump in salary to go along with his new responsibilities as captain of the Yomiuri Giants.

Sakamoto received a ¥50 million (S$550,000) raise to ¥220 million (S$2.4 million) for the 2015 season following negotiations with team officials Friday in Tokyo.

"I was told [by the club] that, being captain, I have to act as a model not only at the field but in my private life as well," Sakamoto said.

The 26-year-old Sakamoto, heading into his ninth season with the Central League champions, was named as captain in place of the aging Shinnosuke Abe.

"I would be great if we could become No. 1 and celebrate together," Sakamoto said.

Last season, Sakamoto appeared in all 144 regular-season games for the fifth straight year as the Giants captured their third straight CL pennant.

Although he led the team with 25 "crucial hits" - those that drove in the first, tying or go-ahead run - Sakamoto was not fully satisfied with his season. "I feel like it was neither good nor bad," he said of batting .279 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs.

He made use of the opportunity of the postseason MLB-Japan Series to get advice from players with similar hitting styles, such as SoftBank's Nobuhiro Matsuda, which he plans to use in making technical adjustments.

Sakamoto acknowledges the burden of filling the captain's spikes of someone like Abe. "The previous captain was someone great, and I'll have to do everything I can to get even close to his level."

He does not lack determination. "I will speak my mind without thinking about my age," he said. "I want to show that I know what we need to do to win."

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