Masanao Yoshida, the WBC’s main gun, spoke of his “untold agony”: “I don’t even want to talk to people. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Masanao Yoshida, the WBC’s main gun, spoke of his “untold agony”: “I don’t even want to talk to people.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Yoshida’s toned arms are as thick as an ice skater’s thighs.’ Photographed in February 2005

‘I just came here to eat lunch.

On March 18 (Japan time), Masanao Yoshida (29, Red Sox), the only fielder to participate in practice in Miami, USA, made the press laugh while eating on the bench.

Of course, Yoshida did not come to the stadium just to eat his lunch; the WBC Samurai Japan team arrived in Miami at 3 a.m. on the same day to get over jet lag before the semifinal game against Mexico on March 21. Yoshida told the press, “I went out and soaked up the sun.

I went outside to soak up the sun and not to take a nap. And to make sure I get a good night’s sleep.

Yoshida is on a roll, batting .400 with one home run and 10 runs batted in in the five games leading up to the semifinals. Especially in the quarterfinal game against Italy (March 16), he made his presence felt as the mainstay of the team, batting first and hitting a go-ahead home run. With his iconic full swing, Yoshida has become one of Japan’s best hitters, but his path to this point has not been smooth. FRIDAY” (March 17, 2005 issue) interviewed Yoshida, who was in his second year with the Orix at the time. The following is a reproduction of the interview, which introduces some of Yoshida’s hidden struggles (some parts have been modified).

A 1kg mascot bat buzzing around in the second grade of elementary school

Yoshida’s palms are covered in blisters from repeated full swings. Photo taken in February ’17.

Yoshida’s back bends back after impact. The head of the bat extends over the catcher’s head with a large follow-through.

Yoshida, despite his small stature at 173 cm tall, had hit three home runs in six games during camp with his signature full swing. Yoshida tells his story (comments below are from Yoshida)

I think I was in the second grade of elementary school. My father bought me a bat. I chose a mascot bat that was colorful and cool, and weighed 1 kg. Even for professionals, the weight was around 900 grams, but there was no way a child could swing it properly. I was determined to do something about it, so I started swinging it around every day.

Yoshida, who graduated from Tsuruga Kiei High School (Fukui Prefecture) and went on to study at Aoyama Gakuin University, was drafted first overall by the Orix and started the season as the No. 1 hitter, but an accident struck him in April. He was unable to even stand on the field due to severe back pain.

He said, “Maybe I overworked myself during the camp to show that I was good, and that was a mistake. My legs are numb, I can’t walk, and I have to lie down every day except for stretching and eating. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take a full swing again, and I didn’t even want to talk to people.

In August, Yoshida recovered and hit 10 homers in 63 games, but he lost more than half of the season and was not satisfied with his performance. Yoshida made a big decision in the off-season. He sent a handwritten letter to Koji Murofushi, a gold medalist in the hammer throw at the Athens Olympics, whom he had admired since watching “Muscle Watch” (TBS) as a child, asking for his guidance.

I wanted to build a body that would be injury-free. I went to Tokyo Medical and Dental University, where Mr. Murofushi worked, for three days and went through a training menu of about 20 different exercises. Squats with a 55 kg barbell, with a hammer weighing about 7 kg hanging from each end, were tough. I had never experienced such a workout before, so it was new to me.”

By continuing Murofushi-style training, Yoshida has stabilized his overall body balance. His weight went from 84 kg the previous year to 87 kg. Yoshida has now grown from the Orix’s mainstay to the No. 4 player in the Samurai Japan team. It seems that overcoming the hardships of his rookie season is the reason for his current fulfilling days.

Yoshida’s quintessence is the full swing of his man swing. Photo taken in February ’17.
Squats and muscle training are part of Yoshida’s daily routine.
Despite his small stature (173 cm tall), he has a well-trained body and is capable of hitting long balls. Photo taken in February ’17.
  • PHOTO Hiroyuki Komatsu Gigi

Photo Gallery5 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles