Yakult's focus will be on whether they can fill the void left by McGough, who held them back until last season, but in a game on April 4, pitcher Reito Taguchi closed out the ninth inning with a one-run lead. After the game, manager Shingo Takatsu revealed his intention to let Taguchi take over.

Yakult has been competing for the restraint position since camp after the departure of pitcher McGough, who helped Yakult win two consecutive league titles, including 38 saves last season.

Until now, Takatsu has not said who will be in charge of the new restraint, but he took the mound in the ninth inning of a 2-1 win over Hiroshima on Sunday.

The 1th-year left-hander is in his third season with Yakult from the Giants, and last season he appeared in 0 games as a reliever, posting a consistent 9.10 ERA.

In the first inning, he struck out three without a single runner on and earned his first save of the season.

After the match, coach Takatsu made it clear that he would leave Taguchi to the pitcher, saying, "After watching the camp and the opening matches, I was stable, and considering various circumstances, I decided that Taguchi was the best at the back. We only had one save, but I think it was a good start."

Taguchi said, "I believed in my ball and threw it without worry, and my main role is to come back with zero runs, so I got off to a good start. The entire pitching staff is in good shape, so we want to keep going."