Tag Archives: Seattle Mariners

NPB 2020 7-15 games and news

Buffaloes pen turns pitchers’ duel into rout

Tsuyoshi Wada picked up his second win after he and unheralded Orix Buffaloes right-hander Yu Suzuki duked it out for six innings in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel in what became a 7-0 win for the SoftBank Hawks at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Wada (2-0) allowed a single and three walks, while striking out three and never allowed a leadoff runner to reach.

The 23-year-old Suzuki (1-2), who earned the victory his first career start, against the Seibu Lions on July 1, tried to be too careful in his second start last week in his loss to the Nippon Ham Fighters. This time, however, he went back to challenging hitters and making them hit his pitches.

“Obviously, he took a lot away from his last game and built on those lessons,” Buffaloes manager Norifumi Nishimura said.

The Hawks broke the scoreless deadlock in the fourth, when Kenta Imamiya doubled and scored on a Yuki Yanagita single, but it stayed a one-run game through six.

Lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada took the mound in the seventh, worked carefully to Yanagita and walked him. Wladimir Balentien followed with a smash up the middle that had “big inning” written all over it.

But the Buffaloes brought their “A” fielding game on Wednesday after being badly outplayed on defense the night before. Second baseman Koji Oshiro, got to Balentien’s grounder and flipped to shortstop Ryoichi Adachi to start a double play. Adachi, who had let a pop fly fall behind him in center in a mix-up with center fielder Yuma Mune on Tuesday, was on EVERYTHING in shallow left and center.

But Yamada then surrendered another smash up the middle, but Oshiro, shading the Akira Nakamura toward right, was in position to snag that one. Seiji Uebayashi followed by blasting his second home run in two nights.

Wakui earns 4th win with gem against Lions

Hideaki Wakui showed why he still has some value on Wednesday as he located his pitches to dominate his former club in the Rakuten Eagle’s 11-0 win over the Seibu Lions at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Wakui (4-0) walked four, but executed with precision whenever he found himself in a jam. With one out and one on in the first Wakui froze Shuta Tonosaki with a perfectly located changeup. He got out of the jam by attacking Tomoya Mori inside and getting him to foul out – with some help from third baseman Daichi Suzuki making a good catch at the edge of the seats.

The top three in the Eagles order, rookie Hiroto Kobukata, Suzuki and shortstop Eigoro Mogi combined to score five runs and drive in 10.

Lions starter Tatsuya Imai (1-2) stranded five batters through the first three innings, surviving three two-out walks in the third before the roof collapsed in the fourth. For the fourth straight inning, the right-hander retired the first two batters before six straight reached in the five-run rally. Suzuki broke the ice with a bases-loaded single and Mogi followed with a three-run homer.

Nakata lifts Fighters past Marines

Cleanup hitter Sho Nakata drove in three runs and cracked a 4-4, eighth-inning tie with a sacrifice fly for the Nippon Ham Fighters in a 6-4 win over the Lotte Marines at Sapporo Dome.

Nakata’s two-run RBI single opened the scoring after Haruki Nishikawa singled and Kensuke Kondo doubled with one out to set the table in the first against Marines starter Kazuya Ojima.

The Marines took the lead in the fifth when Leonys Martin homered for the second-straight game with perhaps the longest home run I’ve ever seen at this ballpark. His one-out three-run shot made it 4-2 Marines.

Former Padre Christian Villanueva led off the sixth with a home run and Nishikawa singled in the tying run after Takuya Nakashima singled and stole second.

Nakashima scored the go-ahead run in the eighth when Nakata flied to the wall in right. Nakashima reached to open the inning on a throwing error by third baseman Brandon Laird.

Fighters starter Nick Martinez allowed four runs on five hits and five walks over six innings.

Togo earns 3rd win as Giants pound Carp

 Twenty-year-old right-hander Shosei Togo (3-0) worked six scoreless innings and Zelous Wheeler hit his first home run for his new team as the Yomiuri Giants clobbered the Carp 12-1 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Togo allowed two hits and three walks while striking out four, while the Giants got to Carp lefty Kris Johnson (0-3) for five runs over five innings. Kazuma Okamoto broke the ice in the first by singling home rookie Takumi Kitamura, who opened the game with a single. Wheeler, who joined the Giants in a June trade from the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles, completed the damage against Johnson with a two-run homer in the fifth.

Wheeler singled in two more runs in the Giants’ five-run sixth, when Okamoto added a two-run shot.

Matsuba earns 1st win as Dragon

Takahiro Matsuba (1-0) allowed a run over 5-1/3 innings and Dayan Viciedo doubled in two to pace the Chunichi Dragons to a 2-1 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome.

The loss extends the BayStars’ record streak of winning and losing alternating games to 16 straight. The visitors’ only run came on Neftali Soto’s sixth home run of the year in the sixth.

Matsuba, who was making his season debut, earned his first win in a Chunichi uniform since being traded last summer from the Orix Buffaloes.

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (1-1) took the loss for the BayStars. He struck out nine but walked three and surrendered seven hits over 5-1/3 innings.

Swallows wear down Tigers

Alcides Escobar had four hits including a two-run home run as the Yakult Swallows beat the Hanshin Tigers 9-5 at Koshien Stadium.

Swallows starter Gabriel Ynoa allowed a run over five innings, but lefty 21-year-old Hiroki Hasegawa allowed all three runners he faced in the sixth to reach, and Scott McGough allowed the two runners he inherited to score.

Munetaka Murakami, who singled to open the scoring in the first off Onelki Garcia, broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh with another RBI single.

Garcia, who beat out a bunt single to open the Tigers’ fifth and appeared to cramp up in the process, returned in the sixth after a 30-minute rain delay, when he issued a two-out walk and surrendered Escobar’s home run. The lefty allowed four runs on two walks six hits over six innings.

Justin Bour went 3-for-5 with his fourth home run for the Tigers.

Mariners’ Hirano tests positive

Yoshihisa Hirano has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Kyodo News.

Seattle placed the right-hander on the injured list earlier in the day. Hirano signed a one-year deal with Seattle in January after going 9-8 with a 3.47 ERA over two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Yoshihisa Hirano

The 36-year-old had been the Orix Buffaloes’ closer until he filed for free agency after the 2017 season and signed with the Diamondbacks, whose manager Torey Lovullo, played in Japan for the Yakult Swallows.

According to Kyodo, Hirano is the first Japanese major leaguer to test positive. In March three Hanshin Tigers players tested positive, while two Yomiuri Giants players tested positive in May.

Transactions

Rakuten Eagles traded LHP Yuhei Takanashi to Yomiuri Giants for RHP Hosei Takata*

NOTE: To facilitate management of 70-man rosters, until recently it was customary to assign a player acquired in a trade the same number as a player he was traded for. I don’t know when it last happened, but the Takanashi-Takata trade simplified that matter since both were No. 53 with their former clubs.

Active roster moves 7/15/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/25

Central League

Activated

CarpP30Ryuji Ichioka
CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba

Dectivated

CarpC31Yoshiyuki Ishihara
SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa

Pacific League

Activated

LionsIF52Haruka Yamada
HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksIF00Hikaru Kawase
FightersP59Yuki Yoshida
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka
BuffaloesP66Ryo Yoshida

Dectivated

HawksP40Kazuki Sugiyama
HawksIF36Taisei Makihara
FightersP15Naoyuki Uwasawa
FightersC10Yushi Shimizu
BuffaloesP49Keisuke Sawada

The kotatsu league: Hawks staying busy

The SoftBank Hawks are poised to acquire 30-year-old lefty Matt Moore, the Nikkan Sports reported Friday citing a source. Moore posted 10-plus wins in three different seasons. He had surgery on his pitching elbow in 2018 but came back to pitch two games this past season with the Detroit Tiger when he showed no noticeable drop in velocity. Moore spent most of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays before playing for the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Tigers.

The Hawks this week also welcomed former catcher Kenji Jojima, who will take up a role in the front office. Jojima, who I have ranked as the fifth most valuable catcher in NPB history and the 50th best player overall, left the Hawks after the 2005 season for the majors. He returned to Japan with the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers and played three more years until 2012.

Tigers announce Sands signing

The Hanshin Tigers on Friday introduced Jerry Sands, the 32-year-old outfielder who led the KBO in RBIs this year. His one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.1 million. In comments released by the Tigers (in Japanese only) Sands said his former minor league teammate, Pierce Johnson, who starred in relief this year for the Tigers, spoke highly of the organization.

Dickson, Albers and Moya back with Orix for 2020

The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes announced they had concluded 2020 contracts with three foreign holdovers from 2019, pitchers Brandon Dickson and Andrew Albers, and outfielder-first baseman Steven Moya. Dickson , who joined Orix in 2013, moved last season from the starting rotation to the bullpen, where he proved effective as the closer for the Buffaloes, and during the Premier 12 for the United States. Moya arrived last season from the CL’s Chunichi Dragons.

Their English NPB player pages are HERE:

The kotatsu league: Axe and Jackson

March 15 in Japan may be tax day, but Dec. 2 was this year’s NPB axe day.

Few surprises on cut day

NPB teams published their offseason reserve lists on Monday when the only real surprise was that Yurisbel Gracial and Alfredo Despaigne were both released by the SoftBank Hawks, ostensibly because the team had yet to conclude its negotiations with the Cuban government’s sports authorities.

The bigger they are the softer they fall

The big local news was that Xavier Batista, who is under suspension for banned substances, was reserved by the Hiroshima Carp. This wasn’t really news since the Carp could have voided his contract for cause during the summer, and most certainly would have if he didn’t have value.

The severity of punishment in Japanese sports tends to decrease as the player’s value increases. Kento Momota, the world No. 2 men’s singles badminton player missed a year and the Rio Olympics after participating in illegal gambling. Kyosuke Takagi one of four Yomiuri Giants pitchers who admitted to betting on baseball, and the only one of the four who had any value, was fired and then re-hired a year after receiving a fairly lenient suspension. So Batista’s remaining with the Carp shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Big Jay to join Marines

Jay Jackson said Tuesday he has completed his agreement to play for the Lotte Marines, while Lotte said their talks were moving in a good direction. I’m going to attribute that disparity to Japanese teams’ history of trying to control the timing of news about their team, and having other business to attend to — the introduction of free agent pitcher Manabu Mima.

The Kyodo News story is HERE.

Jackson, who has a child with his Japanese partner, had hoped to stay in NPB last season and was disappointed in the lack of offers. When nothing materialized he signed a minor league deal with the Brewers and pitched in 28 games with them and spoke about that situation in March and about his adjustments to Japanese ball.

His NPB page (Japanese language only) is HERE.

In the U.S. he struck out about 1.5 batters per inning this year — a vast improvement over his norm before he came to Japan in 2016, suggesting he learned how to get more strikeouts in Japan. It will be interesting to see how his re-acquaintance with American-style ball will affect his play here the second time around.

Yamaguchi, Kikuchi posting applications complete

The Hiroshima Carp have completed the posting application for second base glove wizard Ryosuke Kikuchi, while the Yomiuri Giants said they also completed the necessary paperwork on pitcher Shun Yamaguchi, meaning their 30-day posting period will commence on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 8 a.m. Eastern time.

Here are Kyodo News’ English stories on Kikuchi and Yamaguchi.

Here’s my page for analysis and backstory on all the guys heading to the majors this winter and in winters to come.

Giants sign Brazilian flame thrower Vieiera

The Yomiuri Giants announced Tuesday they have signed 26-year-old Brazilian and White Sox farm hand Thyago Vieira, who has saved 14 Triple-A games over the past two seasons and pitched in 23 major league games.

Here’s Vieira’s MLB debut:

The kotatsu league: Carp to land Scott

The Hiroshima Carp announced Sunday they had reached agreement with South African right-hander Tayler Scott, who struck out 68 batters in 51 innings last season in Triple-A. The 27-year-old has pitched in 13 major league games with the Orioles and Mariners.

The Japanese language story in Sports Nippon is HERE.

According to the Daily Sports Tayler will receive a $175,000 signing bonus and a salary of $525,000.

The Carp have already acquired right-hander DJ Johnson, and versatile infielder-outfielder José Manuel Pirela.

The Carp finished out of the Central League postseason for the first time in four years and could lose second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi if he signs with a major league team via the posting system.

Iwakuma progressing in rehab

Hisashi Iwakuma, back in Japan for the first time since 2011, threw his third bullpen in a week on Sunday at the Yomiuri Giants’ minor league facility in Kawasaki, across the river from Tokyo.

The 38-year-old threw 40 pitches but not at full strength as he was focusing on his mechanics after having shoulder trouble in February. Iwakuma had shoulder surgery in September 2017

“I feel strong enough so I wanted to see how it felt throwing with a little less effort. My feel for my pitching form largely matched how I was throwing,” he said. “I think I’m moving forward, and now I need to take the next step.”

Iwakuma threw his first bullpen since camp on May 14.

You can see the original Japanese language Nikkan Sports report HERE.

Ichiro from start to finish, part 4

Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement at a press conference after midnight in Tokyo on Friday, March 22. I have translated the entire press conference from start to finish to give you a sense of how it went down. I hope you enjoy. I have included the original Japanese text. The questions have been mercilessly shortened, however.

He made two curtain calls, once after he left the game at the start of the bottom of the eighth inning, and again after the Mariners’ extra-inning win over the Athletics. What follows is the Japanese and English text of his retirement press conference early on the morning of March 22 in Tokyo.

Ichiro Suzuki tips his cap to fans at Tokyo Dome as he leaves his last big league game. on March 21 ,2019. Photo by Seito Takamizawa

――(長々と説明後に)1年目のゲームから今日を思い出しましたか?

「長い質問に対して大変失礼なんですが、ないですね」

–(After an extremely long buildup) do you have any memories from the games in your first year to today?

“I’m sorry to be rude in answer to such a long question, but no.”

――プロ野球選手になるという夢を叶えて成功してきて、今何を得たと思うか?

「成功かどうかってよく分からないですよね。じゃあどこからが成功で、そうじゃないのかというのは、全く僕には判断できない。成功という言葉がだから僕は嫌いなんですけど……メジャーリーグに挑戦する、どの世界でもそうですね、新しい世界に挑戦するということは大変な勇気だと思うんですけど、でもここはあえて成功と表現しますけど、成功すると思うからやってみたい、それができないと思うから行かないという判断基準では後悔を生むだろうなと思います。やりたいならやってみればいい。できると思うから挑戦するのではなくて、やりたいと思えば挑戦すればいい。そのときにどんな結果が出ようとも後悔はないと思うんです。じゃあ自分なりの成功を勝ち取ったときに、達成感があるのかといったらそれも僕には疑問なので。基本的にはやりたいと思ったことに向かっていきたいですよね。

 で、何を得たか……まぁ、こんなものかなあという感覚ですかねぇ。それは200本もっと打ちたかったし、できると思ったし、1年目にチームは116勝して、その次の2年間も93勝して、勝つのってそんなに難しいことじゃないなってその3年は思っていたんですけど、大変なことです。勝利するのは。この感覚を得たことは大きいかもしれないですね」

–You succeeded in realizing your dream of becoming a pro baseball player. What have you gained?

“I don’t really know if I succeeded or not. Where do you measure it from? Because if you can’t do that, then I’m unable to judge. I dislike that word, “success.” Trying the major leagues, or any other world, I think requires great courage because you are taking on the challenge of a world that’s new for you. In that sense I would use the word “success,” but that’s because you go because you think you’ll succeed. If you don’t go because you think you can’t be successful, I think that will become a source of regret. Basically, I try things because I want to do them. But what have I gained? I guess that’s how I feel about it. I wanted to get about 200 hits, and I thought I could. My first year our team won 116 games, 93 the next two. So in those three years I didn’t think winning was such a difficult thing. It is in fact extremely hard. That realization might be the big thing I took away.”

――毎年神戸に自主トレに行っている。ユニホームを脱ぐことで神戸に何か恩返ししたい思いは?

「神戸は特別な街です、僕にとって。恩返しかー……、恩返しって何することなんですかね。僕は選手として続けることでしかそれができないと考えていたこともあって、できるだけ長く現役を続けたいと思っていたこともあるんですね。神戸に……恩返し……、じゃあ、あの税金を少しでも払えるように頑張ります」

–You do your offseason training in Kobe. Now that you’ve retired do you have some emotion to want to repay a debt of gratitude to the city?

“Kobe’s streets are special to me. As for repaying, I wonder what that might be. From my standpoint as a player, I thought of nothing but continuing my career and playing as long as I could. Kobe? Repay a debt of gratitude? I suppose I can do my best to pay them some taxes.”

――日米で活躍する選手は甲子園で活躍、プロで活躍、そしてメジャーに挑戦という流れがある。もっとこんな制度ならメジャーに挑戦しやすかったとか、こういうことあればいいなという提言は?

「制度に関しては僕は詳しくないんですけども、でも日本で基礎を作る、自分が将来、MLBでプレーする……。MLBで活躍するために礎を作るという考え方であれば、できるだけ早くというのは分かりますけど、日本の野球で鍛えられることってたくさんあるんですよね。だから制度だけに目を向けるのはフェアではないと思いますけどね」

――日本の野球で鍛えられたことは?

「基本的な基礎の動きって、おそらくメジャーリーグの選手より日本だったら中学生レベルの方がうまい可能性だってありますよ。それはチームとしての連係もあるじゃないですか。そんなの言わなくたってできますからね、日本の野球では。でも、こちらではなかなかそこは……。個人としてのポテンシャル、運動能力は高いですけど、そこにはかなり苦しみましたよ。苦しんで、諦めましたよ」

–(Japanese) players who go to the majors now follow a path from playing  (in the high school tournaments) at Koshien Stadium, and from there to Japanese pro ball and then the majors. Based on your own experiences if there was a different a system, that would make it easier for Japanese to go to the majors, what would that be? This is hypothetical, but could there be some kind of developmental system or is playing in Nippon Professional Baseball still the best way?

“I really don’t know in much detail about systems as such. My baseball foundations were laid in Japan for my future of playing in MLB. But in the case of building the necessary foundation in order to play in MLB, I know that the sooner you go the better, but Japanese baseball still has much to teach, so it’s really not fair to look just at the different systems.”

–What did you Japanese baseball teach you?

“One could argue that from the standpoint of fundamentals, how to play the game, Japanese junior high school-level players may be better than major leaguers because of the focus on teamwork through things like relay plays. We (Japanese) can execute those things without being told. That’s Japanese baseball, but over there, well… the players used to be athletic and have high individual potential, and I think that is still the case, but (my hope that teammates would become better fundamentally) it was so frustrating. Eventually, it became so frustrating I just put it out of my mind.”

――エンゼルスの大谷翔平選手との対戦を楽しみにしていたけど、叶わなかった。イチローさん本人は対戦したかったか?

「先ほどもお伝えしましたが、世界一の選手にならないといけない選手ですよ。そう考えてます。翔平との対戦、残念ですけど、できれば僕がピッチャーで翔平バッターがやりたかったんですよ。そこは誤解なきようにお願いします」

――大谷選手は今後どのような選手になっていくと思いますか?

「なっていくかどうか? そこは占い師に聞いてもらわないとわからないけどねぇ。まぁでも、投げることも、打つこともやるのであれば、僕は1シーズンごとに、1シーズンはピッチャー、次のシーズンは打者として、それでサイ・ヤング(賞)とホームラン王を取ったら……だってそんなこと考えることすらできないですよ。翔平はその想像をさせるじゃないですか、人に。この時点でもう明らかに人とは違う選手であると思うんですけど。その二刀流は面白いなと思うんですよね。(記者に向かって)納得いっていない感じの表情ですけど。ピッチャーとして20勝するシーズンがあって、その翌年には50本打ってMVP獲ったら、これ化け物ですよね。でも、それが想像できなくないですからね。そんな風に思っています」

–We were looking forward to facing the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, but it didn’t come to pass. Did you want to face him?

“I think I answered that already, but my thinking is he is a guy who has to be No. 1 in the world. It’s unfortunate about a matchup against each other. I wanted to pitch against Shohei if that had been possible. Please don’t misunderstand that. ”

–What kind of player do you think Shohei Ohtani will become?

“What will he be? I think that’s something only a fortune teller can explain. If one was capable of pitching and hitting, what I would like to do is pitch one season and bat the next. In that way one could win the Cy Young Award one year and win the home run title the next. That’s because it’s something I can’t even consider. After all, Shohei is the kind of player who invites that kind of impression. He’s already proved he’s a player who is different from others. I think that playing two ways is pretty cool. You don’t look like that answer is going to satisfy you.”

“OK. Let’s say he wins 20 games in one year as a pitcher, and hits 50 home runs the next and is MVP. That’s a monster, but it’s not something you can exclude as a possibility. That’s kind of how I look at him.”

――現役野球選手じゃない自分は嫌だとインタビューで言っていた。

「僕は嫌だって言わないと思うけどね。僕、野球選手じゃない僕を想像するの嫌だとたぶん言っていないと思いますよ」

――改めて野球選手ではない自分を想像してどうか?

「いやだから、違う野球選手に多分なってますよ。あれ? この話さっきしましたよね。お腹減ってきて集中力が切れてきちゃって、さっき何話したのかもちょっと記憶に……。草野球の話しましたよね? そっちでいずれ……それは楽しくやっていると思うんですけど。そうするときっと草野球を極めたいと思うんでしょうね。真剣に草野球をやるという野球選手になるんじゃないですか、結局。聞いてます?」

「お腹減ってきたもうー。結構やっていないですか、これ。今時間どれくらい? 1時間? 20分? あらー。今日はとことんお付き合いしようかなと思ったんですけどね。お腹減ってきちゃった」

–It is said you agreed with the sentiment that you would hate the idea of yourself as a retired player.

“I don’t think I would say, ‘I hate that.’ I don’t believe I said I dislike the idea of myself as someone who isn’t a player.”

–So can you imagine yourself as something other than a baseball player?

“Since you don’t like that (answer), do you mean seeing myself playing a different kind of baseball? I already talked about that. I’m kind of hungry and my concentration is fading. My recollection of what I said before is…Did I talk about “kusayakyu” (backlot baseball)? In any case, I think that would be fun. I would be the kind of player who masters kusayakyu. In that case, I’d be really serious at it. Are you listening?”
“I am so hungry. Is this not enough? How long have we been going at this? An hour? 1 hour, 20 minutes? Oh my. I was kind of hoping to be out with people until late, and now I’m starving.”

――プロ野球人生振り返って、誇れることは?

「これ、先ほどお話しましたよね。小林君もちょっと集中力切れてるんじゃないの? 完全にその話したよね。ほらそれで1問減ってしまうんだから」

–When you look back on your career, what are you proud of (from Mr. Kobayashi of the Daily Sports)?

“Hold on. I think I answered that already. Mr. Kobayashi is your concentration also wavering? I absolutely definitely answered that, so that’s one less question for me.”

――イチロー選手の小学生時代の卒業文集に「僕の夢は一流の野球選手になることです」と書いていたが、その当時の自分にどんな言葉をかけたいですか?

「お前、契約金1億(円)ももらえないよって。ですね。いやー夢は大きくと言いますけどね、なかなか難しいですよ。ドラ1の1億って掲げていましたけど、全然、遠く及ばなかったですから。いやー、ある意味では挫折ですよね、それは」

「こんな終わり方でいいのかな? なんかきゅっとしたいよね、最後は」

–When you were in elementary school, you wrote in your graduation essay ‘My dream is to be a top-level baseball player.’ What would you like to say to that boy that was you?

“Listen kid. You’re not going to get a 100 million yen ($900,000) signing bonus. Yes, that’s right. No, we say to have big dreams, but they are also hard. I also wrote that I wanted to be a No. 1 draft pick with a bonus of 100 million, but that proved beyond my grasp. So in a sense, is that not frustration, too? Is that a good place to end this? I really want to polish this off properly, so OK one last question.”

――前のマリナーズ時代、何度か「自分は孤独を感じながらプレーしている」と話していた。ヤンキース、マーリンズとプレーする役割が変わってきて、去年ああいう状態があって今年引退。その孤独感はずっと感じてプレーしていたのか。それとも前の孤独感とは違うものがあったのか。

「現在それ(孤独感)全くないです。今日の段階で、それは全くないです。それとは少し違うかもしれないですけど、アメリカに来て、メジャーリーグに来て……外国人になったこと。アメリカでは僕は外国人ですから。このことは……外国人になったことで、人の心を慮ったり、人の痛みを想像したり、今までなかった自分が現れたんですよね。この体験というのは、本を読んだり、情報を取ることはできたとしても、体験しないと自分の中からは生まれないので。孤独を感じて苦しんだことは多々ありました。ありましたけど、その体験は未来の自分にとって大きな支えになるんだろうと、今は思います。だから、辛いこと、しんどいことから逃げたいと思うのは当然のことなんですけど、でもエネルギーのある元気なときにそれに立ち向かっていく、そのことはすごく人として重要なことなのではないかなと感じています」

「締まったね、最後。いやー長い時間ありがとうございました。眠いでしょ、皆さんも。ねぇ。じゃあ、そろそろ帰りますか、ね」

–During your first time with the Mariners, you said a number of times that ‘I feel lonely when I play.’ But with the Yankees and Marlins, your role changed. Then you had that situation last year, and now you’ve retired. Did you continue to play with that feeling of loneliness? Or did the nature of the loneliness you felt change?

“I don’t feel that anymore. At this stage, not at all. This might be a little different (from what you meant), but when I arrived in America, when I came to the majors, I became a foreigner, because I was in America and that made me a foreigner there. Through this thing of becoming a foreigner I began to consider other people, began to imagine things like the pain of others.”