Tag Archives: Yu Darvish

Yuki Matsui speaks

New San Diego Padres reliever Yuki Matsui met members of the English and Japanese language media online Wednesday morning Japan time, and spoke about Yu Darvish, his adjustments and hopes for the future among other things.

Matsui, 28, became the youngest player to record 200 saves in Japan in 2023, a year that started dismally in the World Baseball Classic, when he couldn’t control the MLB ball and pitched just one inning.

“I received a couple of offers. I was talking to a couple of teams. The Padres were the first that presented me with an offer. From the start, I thought the Padres were really serious about acquiring me. Going into my MLB career, I thought it would be a good fit for me.”

To close or not to close

“I’ve been the last guy out of the bullpen, but I haven’t thrown a single pitch in America, so I am not thinking I should be that last guy right from the start. I need to adjust, reliably get outs, and earn trust in the chances I get.”

That being said, people have mentioned his career save total and where he sits in a tie for sixth with Masahide Kobayashi among primarily NPB pitchers with the most career major league saves–Rich Gossage, with eight saves in Japan would be fourth all-time, but I digress:

Hitoki Iwase407000407
Kazuhiro Sasaki25212900381
Shingo Takatsu28627826347
Yoshihisa Hirano*242800250
Kyuji Fujikawa243200245
Masahide Kobayashi228800236
Yuki Matsui*236000236
Dennis Sarfate234000234
Yasuaki Yamasaki*227000227
*– Indicates active pitcher

“Of course, I know it won’t be easy (to earn the closer’s job). It will be down to my showing all I can do and then leaving it up to the competition. My job is to win, and I can’t predict where I’ll fit into the team plan.”

“But when people talk about save totals from Japan and MLB, I want to move forward in that respect. There are two great players just ahead of me (Yoshihisa Hirano and Kyuji Fujikawa) who I really respect, and if I can surpass them this year it would indeed be a great year.”

— note: Matsui didn’t name Hirano or Fujikawa, so I’m speculating. He could easily have meant Kobayashi and Fujikawa, who are both retired. Catching Hirano would, however, make it a heck of a year, since Hirano is still active in Japan and saved 29 games last year at the age of 39.

Yu’s got a friend

Although Shohei Ohtani was the on-field MVP for Japan at the World Baseball Classic, more than anyone, it was Yu Darvish’s team. After going deep into the 2022 postseason, Darvish sacrificed the bulk of his spring training preparations in order to join Samurai Japan in Miyazaki on the first day of camp, Feb. 17.

“For me personally, he’s a big presence, and a big reason why I joined this team. We were together for a month during the WBC, and he is was a role model, of course in baseball, but also in life. He made every one of this think, ‘This is the kind of man I want to be. This is the kind of ballplayer I want to be.’ To be able to play alongside him and be around him, helped me lean toward the Padres.”

Continue reading Yuki Matsui speaks

NPB news: Feb. 27, 2023

Samurai Japan, already thin in the outfield department, is getting ready to do without Seiya Suzuki, while Yu Darvish, who has been omnipresent at the team’s camp in Miyazaki, earns extra praise from the skipper, and Koji Uehara drew on his experience with infamous umpire Bob Davidson to offer some advice for this year’s team.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Continue reading NPB news: Feb. 27, 2023