Masanori Ishikawa (43) of the Yakult Swallows, the oldest player in Japanese professional baseball, pitched in the bullpen with a senior player at bat. On the 7th, he threw 50 balls from the bullpen at Urasoe Baseball Stadium in Okinawa. Former Yakult coach Atsuya Furuta (58) watched from the plate.
Former coach Furuta gave a thumbs up to a fastball thrown by a left-handed pitcher with 22 years of professional experience. He praised pitcher Benerang, saying, “Can I throw a ball like this at the beginning of spring camp?” and asked him to take good care of his body until the opening game.
After pitching, Ishikawa exchanged opinions with former coach Furuta about the ball combination. “He asked me what pitch he would throw when he faced him, and he got it right,” he added.
Former coach Furuta, who is considered the best catcher in Japanese professional baseball history, is a former batting champion with the most hits. He played 2008 games for 18 seasons with Yakult, recording a career batting average of 2.9 4, 2097 hits, 217 home runs, and 1009 RBIs.
Former coach Furuta joined the Yakult camp as an interim coach. 스포츠토토
It must have been a meaningful place for Ishikawa. For him, former coach Furuta is more like a mentor than a great senior. In 2001, when he was about to graduate from Aoyama University, Ishikawa was likely to join the Kintetsu Buffaloes (which merged with Orix in 2005). He also participated in Kintetsu Camp. Nashida Masataka even started to recruit Kintetsu coach. However, he chose Yakult because he wanted to work with Furuta, the best catcher of the time, as a battery.
Ishikawa, who entered the starting rotation from his first year as a pro in 2002, won 12 wins (9 losses, 3.33 ERA) and became the Central League Rookie of the Year. He said, “My pitching basically came from Furuta-senpai’s lead. It was a good time.”
Ishikawa is aiming to start the opening match against the Hiroshima Carps at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo on March 30. If it comes true, it will rewrite the record for the oldest Opening Day starter in Japanese professional baseball. He appeared in 520 games, recording 183 wins and 180 losses with an ERA of 3.83. He has 17 wins left to reach 200 in his career.