A's to honor Japanese baseball on Thursday

PHOENIX -- Having already welcomed a handful of stars from Japan into their family in recent years, including Hideki Matsui and Hiro Nakajima, the A's will honor the legacy of Japanese American baseball prior to Thursday's game against the Mariners at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Pregame ceremonies will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the opening of Zenimura Field, where games were played at the Gila River internment camp just 40 miles south of Phoenix during World War II.

Tets Furukawa, Masao Iriyama and Kenso Zenimura, three surviving players who not only played on the field but helped build it, have been invited to throw out ceremonial first pitches. They were among 13,000 Japanese-Americans who were held at Gila River during the war, as was Kenichi Zenimura, the "Father of Japanese American Baseball."

Thursday's game, set to begin at 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 PT), will also feature Japanese American baseball trivia contests and promotional giveaways.