One day, Hirokazu Sawamura might be known as “Hiro,” and it would be for good reason.
For now, Alex Cora is sticking with “Kaz.”
Sawamura was an underrated acquisition this offseason by the Boston Red Sox, who added the Japanese relief pitcher in February. He’s had a lot of success across his career in Japan, and assuming his stuff translates well to MLB, he could be a big part of the Red Sox’s bullpen plans this season.
He’ll make his Grapefruit League debut Friday when the Red Sox face the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park, and ahead of the game, Cora explained why he’s rolling with Kaz.
“I don’t call him Hiro yet, I call him Kaz. If I call him Hiro in September, you know what he did,” Cora said while chuckling Friday morning. “So, let’s call him Kaz for now.”
Two of the Red Sox’s more recent Japanese relievers, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara, were nails in the postseason and down the stretch, so certainly the hope is Sawamura can continue that trend.