Sakamoto got his first hit in 23 at-bats.
In an open game against Rakuten on March 25, the Giants’ Hayato Sakamoto (34) hit a clean hit to left field in the seventh inning. He smiled and said, “It was good to get one hit for the first time in a long time.
But there was no reason for optimism. He had allowed only two hits in 31 at-bats, and his batting average had dropped to .065.
He looked unsure of himself at bat. In the game against Rakuten on March 25, he got his first clean hit in the open game, but his poor performance until the previous day led to his dropping out of the lineup for the first time in four games. He was a substitute batter. Since many of the main players, including Yoshihiro Maru and Rui Okoye, are doing well, manager Tatsunori Hara cannot hide his concern: “Now it’s just Yuto,” says a baseball team official.
No contraceptives, but forced abortion?
Sakamoto was demoted to the second team three times last season due to left side pain and back pain. He had a .286 batting average, five home runs, and 33 runs batted in in 83 games, his fewest appearances since he became a regular in 2008.
He said, “I haven’t played in a game all year, so I don’t seem to have regained a sense of my body. His hitting form is not stable. He will turn 35 this year, and his age has probably had an effect on his performance.
He is also said to be mentally unstable.
The allegation that he had an abortion, reported by the Weekly Bunshun in September of last year, must be lingering in his mind. The accuser was a woman in her 20s. When she told Sakamoto that she was pregnant, he demanded sex with her, often in an extreme manner and without using contraceptives. When told that she was pregnant, Sakamoto told her, “If you’re going to have the baby, you might as well have it early.
The team brushed off the issue, but Sakamoto was said to have been disheartened. On the surface, Sakamoto is playing quietly, but mentally he must not be at ease.
In November 2008, Sakamoto became the youngest player in Central League history to reach 2,000 hits at the age of 31 years and 10 months. With his track record, results will naturally follow once the season begins.
But I don’t think we can rest easy. For the time being, he is likely to start the season opener, but manager Hara has suggested that he may start on the bench, saying, “If he is in this condition when the season starts, I have to think about it. In the shortstop position that Sakamoto protects, young players are growing. Makoto Kadowaki, the fourth overall pick in the draft out of Soka University, and third-year player Reito Nakayama have been hitting around 30% in open games and are making a strong appeal. Sakamoto must be feeling the pressure.
The season will open on March 31. The season is about to start on March 31, and the Giants have been plagued by repeated injuries, scandals, and the growth of young players ……. The former captain of the Giants heads into the season with an unprecedented sense of urgency.
PHOTO： Kyodo News