Seibu Lions star Hotaka Yamakawa is not out of the woods yet when it comes to rape allegations.
According to Kyoto News, prosecutors decided to drop the case against Yamakawa last Tuesday. However, the Lions are not content to let things go. Instead, they announced on Monday that Yamakawa has been suspended indefinitely.
NPB star Hotaka Yamakawa still under scrutiny
Yamakawa has not played much this season due to the ongoing investigation. He appeared in just 17 games for the Lions, hitting four doubles while driving in five runs in his 62 plate appearances. His absence from the lineup is a major reason as to why the Lions have struggled to a 51-67-1 record this season.
He had been a star prior to these allegations. Yamakawa was a three time home run leader and a key part of Samurai Japan’s World Baseball Classic winning team. He had a dominant 2022 campaign, belting 41 homers and driving in 90 runs. He led the Pacific League in both categories and was named to the All Star Game and the league’s Best Nine.
Now? Those honours do not matter. Yamakawa is likely sidelined for the rest of the season. It also remains to be seen as to how the Lions will look at their star slugger going forward. It may not be that much of a surprise if his suspension continues into 2024 as well given the nature of the allegations. While Yamakawa said that the “situation was caused by my failure to consider my position as a professional baseball player” and that he would “reflect deeply,” that is not enough.
The Seibu Lions have suspended star slugger Hotaka Yamakawa indefinitely. His legal woes are not his only concern at this point.