Spring wrap 3-17-21

Sato goes high and deep

At MetLife Dome, Hanshin Tigers’ rookie Teruaki Sato hit his sixth home run of the spring on Wednesday in a 5-3 preseason win over the Seibu Lions. The homer brushed the netting suspended from the roof.

Jerry Sands hit his third home run for the Tigers, while Hanshin starter Takumi Akiyama pitched out of a couple of jams to go five scoreless innings. Rookie Junya Nishi, Hanshin’s first-round signing from the 2019 draft, surrendered three runs over four runs, including one on a home run by Brandon Taiga Tysinger. The Lions’ sixth pick last autumn, hit his second homer of the spring.

Any port in a storm

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, DeNA BayStars manager Daisuke Miura, whose imported players have yet to arrive in Japan, has had to struggle for positives this spring, but counted top draft pick Taisei Irie’s start in a 2-1 loss to the SoftBank Hawks as a silver lining.

Irie struck out four, walked three, and allowed a run on two hits. After he retiring the first six hitters, Hawks captain Nobuhiro Matsuda took the right-hander deep for his first homer of the spring. Two of the BayStars’ key relievers, lefty Kenta Ishida and right-hander Kazuki Mishima, who took over as the closer last year, worked 1-2-3 innings.

“He has a lot of potential,” Miura said of the youngster according to Nikkan Sports. “

“I’ll make my decision about the (starting rotation makeup) based on the big picture, and also how the schedule looks. He has a chance. He was able to get ahead in counts with his two-seamer and slider.”

Hawks starter Shota Takeda, who is seeking a full-time return to the starting rotation for the first time since 2017, had a similar kind of game, allowing a run over six innings in which he walked five.

In Shizuoka, key Rakuten Eagles starter Takahiro Norimoto struck out seven over seven scoreless innings in a 13-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes. At Jingu Stadium, Alejandro Mejia, who suffered from the coronavirus, had an RBI single and an RBI double as the Hiroshima Carp took batting practice against veteran lefty Masanori Ishikawa in an 11-0 win over the Yakult Swallows. Working his third game, Ishikawa raised his preseason ERA to 30.86.

At Vantelin (Nagoya) Dome, Ryuta Heinai, the Yomiuri Giants’ first-round signing, allowed two runs over four innings while striking out four in a 9-4 win over the Chunichi Dragons. Kazuma Okamoto hit his second homer of the spring for the Giants. At Sapporo Dome, the Lotte Marines beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 4-3.

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