Slow and steady for Kikuchi

Upon arriving at Narita Airport on Sunday, new Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi told reporters he wanted to be ready to throw at full power from the start of spring training.

We’ll see how that plays out, since major league spring training can be a daunting mental challenge for Japanese players used to starting on Feb. 1, going through long, all-day workouts for four or five days straight and then getting a day to recover.

Everyone who goes now knows what’s coming, but knowing and feeling in your bones that an unfamiliar workout pace is right for you are two radically different things.

That aside, the interesting take from Kikuchi’s media availability at the airport was his belief that last May’s shoulder stiffness was due to his not throwing until January. For that reason, Kikuchi resumed playing catch in December and was working out in the States while negotiations were going on with his agent.

“Ahead of last season, I began throwing in January, and was forced to pick up the pace and that led to my problem,” he said. “I want to do it gradually this year, so I will be fit enough to throw at full strength in camp.”

Read the full story on Kyodo News HERE.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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