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Japan baseball boss apologizes for ball switch

Japanese baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato apologized on Friday for the confusion caused by introducing a new, livelier ball this season without notifying players. Kato held a meeting with representatives of the 12 teams and issued an apology for his handling of the situation. “I’ve caused a lot of trouble for the fans, players and people connected to the game,” Kato said. “Baseball is very important in Japan’s sporting culture and I have to carefully reflect on my responsibility to the game.” Japan’s 12 teams agreed to have a third party investigate the issue of why NPB secretly made its baseballs livelier. NPB acknowledged this week for the first time that a new ball was introduced at the start of the season, resulting in a sharp increase in home runs. – AP