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Updated: October 31, 2018
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)

Hensley Meulens named Bench Coach of Major League All Star Team for Japan Tour

NEW YORK CITY, New York (USA) - Hensley Meulens, the Bench Coach of the San Francisco Giants, has been named Bench Coach of the Major League All Star Team that will travel to Japan coming week. In the Japan All Star Series, the MLB All Stars will play seven games from November 8 through 15.

...Hensley Meulens hitting grounders for the Netherlands...
...National Team during a practice session...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Meulens, who was the Manager of the Netherlands Kingdom Team during the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic, will be one of six coaches in the staff of Manager Don Mattingly, who is the Manager of the Miami Marlins. Coaching at the bases will be Fredi González (3B Coach Miami Marlins) and former Major League-player Hideki Matsui (New York Yankees), who will be an Honorary Coach. In January of this year, Matsui was elected into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Edgar Martinez (Hitting Coach Seattle Mariners) will be the Hitting Coach, Brent Strom (Pitching Coach Houston Astros) the Pitching Coach and Henry Blanco (Bullpen Coach Washington Nationals) the Bullpen Coach.

The 29-man roster is compiled of 15 pitchers, three catchers, five infielders and six outfielders.

Amongst the invited players are Japanese righthander Kenta Maeda, infielder Chris Taylor and outfielder Kiké Hernández, who have just played in the World Series with Los Angeles Dodgers.

Veteran Yadier Molina of St. Louis Cardinals is one of the catchers.

Amongst the outfielders are Kevin Pillar (Toronto Blue Jays) and rookie Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves). At age 20, Acuña made his Major League-debut in April for the Braves and he went on to have a great season, hitting .293 with 26 homeruns and 64 runs batted in, playing in 111 games. The Venezuelan became the fourth player in history aged 20 or younger to hit 25 homeruns and steal 15 bases in the same season. In the recent National League Division Series, Acuña became the youngest player in history to hit a grand slam in the postseason.

The 51-year old Meulens played three seasons in Japan, where he still is popular. Meulens, who was a third baseman/outfielder, made his Major League-debut in 1989 playing for the New York Yankees, for whom he played through 1993. Thereafter, he was signed by Chiba Lotte Marines for whom he played in 1994. That was followed by two seasons (1995-1996) with Yakult Swallows with whom he won the Championship-title in 1995. Meulens then returned to the Major League and went on to play for Montreal Expos (1997) and Arizona Diamondbacks (1998). After having played for Newark Bears in an Independent League in 1999, Meulens played for SK Wyverns in South Korea in 2000. He then went on to play two more seasons in Mexico, before retiring after an injury.

...Hensley Meulens as Manager of the Netherlands Team...
...during the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Japan...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In 2010, Meulens became the Hitting Coach of the Major League-team of the San Francisco Giants. With the Giants, he won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. A year ago, he was named Bench Coach of the Giants in the staff of Manager Bruce Bochy. In November last year, Meulens was one of six candidates for the vacant Manager-position of the New York Yankees. A few weeks ago, his named was mentioned as candidate for Manager of the Detroit Tigers.

In 2000, Meulens played for the Netherlands National Team during the Olympic Games in Sydney (Australia). He then delivered a game-deciding double in a victory against Cuba, which sufferered its first Olympic loss. He also played for the Netherlands during the 2001 World Championship in Taiwan and the 2002 Intercontinental Cup in Cuba. Duringt the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens (Greece) and the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Meulens was the Hitting Coach of the Netherlands. He then was the Manager of the Orange-squad during the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017 when the team reached the Semi-Final both times.

The Major League All Stars will play seven games against Samurai Japan, the All Star Team of Japanese professional players. Before the Series begins, Japan will play a game against the professional National Team of Taiwan on November 7 in Fukuoka.

The next four days, the Major League All Stars and Samurai Japan will play four games in the Tokyo Dome. After one day off, the next game will be played on November 13 in Hiroshima. Hereafter, two more games will be played in Nagoya.

The Major League-roster looks as follows:

Matt Andriese (Arizona Diamondbacks), Scott Barlow (Kansas City Royals), John Brebbia (St. Louis Cardinals), Junior Guerra (Milwaukee Brewers), Brian Johnson (Boston Red Sox), Kenta Maeda (Los Angeles Dodgers), Chris Martin (Texas Rangers), Collin McHugh (Houston Astros), Daniel Norris (Detroit Tigers), Vidal Nuño (Tampa Bay Rays), Dan Otero (Cleveland Indians), Yusmeiro Petit (Oakland A's), Erasmo Ramírez (Seattle Mariners), Héctor Velázquez (Boston Red Sox), Kirby Yates (San Diego Padres).

Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals), Robinson Chirinos (Texas Rangers), J.T. Realmuto (Miami Marlins).

Whit Merrifield (Kansas City Royals), Carlos Santana (Philadelphia Phillies), Eugenio Suárez (Cincinnati Reds), Chris Taylor (Los Angeles Dodgers), Amed Rosario (New York Mets).

Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves), Mitch Haniger (Seattle Mariners), Kiké Hernández (Los Angeles Dodgers), Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies), Kevin Pillar (Toronto Blue Jays), Juan Soto (Washington Nationals).

(October 31)

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