Longtime Japan League manager says Nakijima just needs time to adjust

PHOENIX -- It's been a tough spring for A's shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima as he tries to make the transition from being a star in Japan to playing in the U.S.

But Bobby Valentine, who saw Nakajima play numerous games in Japan, says things likely will get better.

The former manager of the Rangers, Mets and Red Sox, who was in San Francisco for the World Baseball Classic, was asked about Nakajima by this newspaper's Dan Brown. Valentine managed against Nakajima as skipper of the Chiba Lotte Marines.

And Valentine seems relatively unconcerned about the slow spring for Nakajima that includes a .176 batting average and four errors.

``I think he'll be able to hit once he learns some of the pitchers,'' Valentine said in addressing Nakajima's offense. ``He has to learn to take some of the pitches that they'll be throwing at him.''

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