Alex Cora has a simple thing he wants Hirokazu Sawamura to do.
Sawamura, at 32-years-old, is about to pitch in his first Major League season after spending the entirety of his career playing in his native Japan. A right-handed reliever with a fastball that lives in the mid- to upper-90s, he figures to be an important part of the Boston Red Sox bullpen.
That allowed for as teaching point from Cora.
“(Alex Cora) came out to the mound to take me out of the game, and I just let out a ‘sorry’ as I handed him the ball because I didn’t pitch well,” Sawamura told Koji Uehara in an interview translated by Baseball Cosmopolitan “And he was like, ‘Hmm? You don’t need to apologize, it’s not your responsibility. And then after the inning was over, he came over to me on the bench again, and he told me you shouldn’t apologize or think negative things about yourself. He said this isn’t the place for it.”
Sawamura and Uehara, who helped convince the former to sign with the Red Sox, went on to discuss about how saying sorry holds different meaning in Japan than it does the United States.
It’ll take time for Sawamura to pick up all the customs of baseball in North America, but he’s got plenty of time to learn all the ins and outs.