‘Be anxious every day!’ …Giants’ Okoye: “Hara’s expectations are high,” but the coaches are breathing hard under pressure | FRIDAY DIGITAL

‘Be anxious every day!’ …Giants’ Okoye: “Hara’s expectations are high,” but the coaches are breathing hard under pressure

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Okoye, who joined the Giants after shaving off his trademark mustache from his days at Rakuten. On the left is Sadaaki Yoshimura, deputy general manager of the organization headquarters (Image: Jiji Press)

It was my dream!

It was a surprise visit to the Giants’ team office on December 14, just before the press conference for Rui Okoye (25), who was drafted by the Giants and transferred from Rakuten. While Okoye, wearing an orange tie with the Giants in mind, was waiting in the waiting room, manager Tatsunori Hara suddenly appeared and shook hands with him.

The team’s official Twitter page reported the news of the surprise visit. Hara said, ‘I think it was my second year (as a pro). (I was watching the practice game in Naha (Okinawa Prefecture). Okoye seemed thrilled by the commander’s surprise. At the press conference, he said, “I will do my best to contribute to the team. I will do my best in the new environment, and I will do my best with the feeling that there is no end in sight.

Okoye’s ties to the Giants run deep. When Okoye was in the sixth grade of elementary school, he was selected as a member of the Giants Junior team. He had been a catcher until then, but was switched to the outfield at the suggestion of the Giants Junior coaches, who were impressed with his running ability and shoulders.

Okoye had been struggling to find playing time with Rakuten,” Hara said. Manager Hara seems confident in Okoye’s awakening. He has revitalized Sho Nakata, who had a violent incident at Nippon-Ham and was considered a dead end.

Hara is probably most impressed with Okoye’s physical abilities. He has a strong shoulder with a long throw of 120 meters, eyesight of over 2.0, a 50-meter run of 5.96 seconds, and a swing speed of 157 km ……. He is a valuable star player for the current Giants. Okoye seems to have been acquired by the Giants at the behest of manager Hara.

A “whip of love” of 2,000 swings a day

The coaches are breathing heavily now that a promising player has joined the team. When asked about Okoe by the press after the winter training session of the Dave Baseball Academy held on December 18, chief hitting coach Hiroshi Okubo replied, “He seems to have a strong nose.

I think he has a strong nose. If you don’t have that, you are not a professional. I think he has a good chance to become a regular. My role as a coach is to make sure that the coach chooses you.

Coach Okubo conducted “early work” from 6:30 a.m. during the fall training camp in Miyazaki. He has a “track record” of imposing a quota of 2,000 swings per day on young fielders and making them exhausted. Okoye, too, will be given the same “whip of love” without mercy.

Shinnosuke Abe, the head coach and battery coach, is also raising a cloud of suspicion.

I tell the players how they should spend their time off. I tell them, ‘Don’t forget about baseball for even one moment a day. I want you to live every day worrying and fretting about whether everything will be all right! He said. In the spring, they can tell right away if they have spent the day off with a strong mindset.

He continued, “I can tell that you’ve come a long way, that you’ve changed. I want you to spend your time in a way that you can see that you’ve done something, that you’ve changed. If you don’t do it, don’t do it. There is no need to beat their asses and make them do it. That is competition. If you are satisfied with the status quo, you are finished as a professional.

Will Okoye be able to keep up with the coaches’ intense training? There is still some uncertainty.

He has an uneven temperament. Every year at Rakuten, he affirmed himself by saying, “I’m growing too well,” but when he received attention from the coaches and manager, he became flustered. Kazuhisa Ishii, the manager, complained, “He is not thinking straight. He is a bit naive in his thinking. I feel his self-esteem is a little high. You need to peel off your skin a little more.

It is doubtful that Okoye will accept the strict guidance of a coach just because the environment has changed. I am worried that Okoye, who has a free and spontaneous personality, will feel suffocated by the Giants, a team that is highly disciplined and attracts a lot of attention.

Will Okoye be able to spend the off-season “not being satisfied with the status quo” and “being driven by anxiety” with the awareness that “there is no end in sight,” as he said at the press conference? Okoye’s new challenge has already begun.

  • Photo Jiji Press

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