Masataka Yoshida Leaves Good First Impression On Red Sox

It was a solid debut for Yoshida


March 30

All eyes were on Boston Red Sox newcomer Masataka Yoshida as he made his Major League Baseball debut Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Like he showed during the World Baseball Classic, any added pressure in front of the crowd at Fenway Park didn’t faze Yoshida.

The 29-year-old went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the cleanup spot in the 10-9 defeat on Opening Day as he certainly made a good first impression for all those watching, especially those in a Red Sox uniform.

“He’s a good player. Made some nice plays. Made a good throw to the plate. Puts (on) good at-bats,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters, per team-provided audio. “I know it’s day one and he’s getting used to it. Most of time I think over there it’s domes and the traveling is not that bad. Today was a little bit different for him. Overall, I thought he did a good job.”

Yoshida, who had to adjust to the Boston weather, was renowned for his terrific plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills during his time in Japan. And that came as advertised in his first game in the big leagues.

“It’s a professional at-bat, man, every single time,” Justin Turner told reporters. “Somebody told me stat a couple weeks ago that he walked 150 more times than he struck out in Japan. And anyone that’s doing that knows how to control the strike zone, knows how to move the ball forward and when you put the ball in play good things happen.”

There was no easing into things for Yoshida, either. He found himself in a pressure-packed situation in the bottom of the ninth with the Red Sox having chipped away at a six-run deficit and trying to continue their rally against Baltimore closer Félix Bautista.

Yoshida grounded a 3-2, 96 mph fastball from Bautista to shortstop, but an errant throw from Jorge Mateo allowed Yoshida to reach base for a fourth time.

And what Yoshida provided in the season opener is a sample size of what Cora expects going forward.

“(The) last at-bat was a good one,” Cora said. “He’ll catch up with velo. They got guys that throw hard over there, too. I think he’s so disciplined that that comes into play. He’s able to lay off the pitches up. He’ll take his chances, like he did there. Turned on it. I think he’ll be OK. He’ll adjust. He’s a good hitter, has a simple swing. He uses the whole field. He’s going to put it in play.”

Thumbnail photo via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images
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