Some say that manager Hara was mistaken in his decision to acquire these players… The Giants are in the doldrums, and veterans such as Matsuda and Kajitani are the only bright spot in the team’s future.
Veteran players who have joined the Giants are struggling in the second team.
Nobuhiro Matsuda, 39, who moved from Softbank last offseason, went to the farm with a poor .111 batting average in the first team (record as of April 25). Takayuki Kajitani (34), who declared himself an FA with DeNA in December 2008, was also demoted after failing to produce the same .206 results.’ Hiroyuki Nakajima (40), who joined the team from Orix in the off-season of 2006, has yet to make a single appearance this season. ……
‘There is an unlucky side to this. Nakajima was hit by a dead ball in a red-and-white game in March and broke his right thumb. Kajitani is also not in great shape due to the left knee surgery he underwent last May. However, it is probably true that he has not performed as well as expected. In particular, Matsuda does not have the sharpness of his prime when he led the evergreen SoftBank team with a total of 301 home runs.
Some have questioned manager Tatsunori Hara’s decision to acquire him, calling it a “misjudged prospect. The outfield, Kajitani’s main position, is saturated this season with Walker, Yoshihiro Maru, Rui Okoye, Brinson, and others. Third base, which Matsuda protects, is regularly occupied by Kazuma Okamoto, the main gunner, and Sho Nakata is a stalwart at first base. Even if they were to be used as trump cards for substitutions, they are of the same type as Nakajima, who is also a right-handed hitter. They must have known even before they joined the Giants that they would have little chance to play an active role.
The Giants suffered the league’s fastest 10 losses this season. The Giants are in a slump, battling with Chunichi for the bottom of the standings, as their mainstays, such as Hayato Sakamoto and Maru, who led the team until last season, are in a slump. The team has not been able to find a chance to rise to the top.
A veteran nearly 20 years older than Nakajima is covered in mud.
Among the struggling teams, however, there are those who hope that the veterans who have been languishing in the second team are “the only bright spot. What does this mean?
Many of the mainstays of the Giants, such as Sakamoto and Maru, have passed their peak, and the team is in a transitional period. However, no youngsters have emerged who can replace them and take over the regular role completely. Coaches such as Shinnosuke Abe and Dave Okubo should be bringing out the abilities of the youngsters, but they are not working well. The youngsters are becoming more restrained due to strict coaching, such as early morning practice.
On the other hand, the words and actions of veterans such as Matsuda set a good example for the second team players. They are not proud of their past achievements and work very hard in training. Matsuda would say to a much younger hitting pitcher, “How was your timing? He also asks the much younger hitters, “How was your timing? Their honest attitude will inspire the younger players to think, “If all these guys are working so hard, we can’t go on like this. Veterans who are nearly 20 years older than the youngsters are struggling in the second team, getting covered in mud.
(A reporter for a sports newspaper) “The veterans are not functioning as a competitive force, but they are an inspiration to the younger players because of their attitude toward baseball.
But the other side of the coin is that the Giants are forced to rely on veterans even for the development of young players, which is a unique situation. There are too few positive factors.
Veteran transfer teams are contributing to the team in unexpected ways. Will the youngsters be inspired by their struggles in the second team and emerge as the saviors of the Giants?
PHOTO： Kyodo News Reuters/Afro AP/Afro