Manager Abe’s Anger: Giants’ Akihiro Faces Demotion Amidst Tardiness Concerns Arising Over Nakata Sho’s Influence | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Manager Abe’s Anger: Giants’ Akihiro Faces Demotion Amidst Tardiness Concerns Arising Over Nakata Sho’s Influence

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Akihiro expected to make his first start in the season opener and further progress

“Hey! Where’s the alarm clock?”

“Here! I’ll bring three of them.”

On January 25th, at the Giants Stadium in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, Giants player Akihiro Yuto (21) happened to meet Manager Shinohara Abe. He stood before the press and answered the commander’s questions with the utmost respect. The reason Manager Abe asked about the preparation of alarm clocks was.

“At the Celebration Party for the Appointment of the Manager held at Chuo University’s Mejirodai Campus on January 20th, Akihiro revealed that he had been late twice last November, during award ceremonies and team events. Manager Abe seemed visibly displeased with Akihiro’s repeated tardiness. In the process of assigning team members, he even mentioned, ‘At first, I thought about putting him in the third string team.’ It seems he really wanted to drive the point home about not oversleeping again, hence the question about the alarm clocks.” (Team insider)

Giants Time, where the team is expected to gather 30 minutes before the designated meeting time.


Akihiro had a breakout season last season, batting .273 with 10 home runs and 41 runs batted in. He is a promising young prospect who is aiming for his first starting spot for the season opener. Because of the high expectations for him, manager Abe was probably bitter about him.

“While Akihiro is certainly a promising young talent, earning a regular spot in the outfield, where he plays, won’t be easy. He faces stiff competition from players like Odor, with a total of 178 home runs in the majors, Yoshihiro Maru, Asano Shogo, who has shown remarkable growth in his second year, and veteran Takayuki Kajitani, among others. Manager Abe also regards the outfield regular spots as up for grabs.

Nevertheless, with the same number ’55’ worn by Hideki Matsui, Akihiro is expected to grow into a key player and make further leaps. The theme of the new Giants led by Manager Abe is self-sacrifice and dedication. For the next star candidate, Akihiro, it is hoped that he will discipline himself and embrace the consciousness of carrying the new Giants forward.”

On the other hand, there is concern about the influence of Sho Nakata, whom he admires as his mentor and is close to both publicly and privately.

“Since his time at the Nippon Ham Fighters, Nakata has been known as the boss and is quite mischievous, even causing incidents of violence against teammates. He often rebels if he disagrees with the team’s policies. It’s said that he was critical of the ‘Giants Time’ policy, where everyone is expected to gather 30 minutes early, and influenced by Nakata, Akihiro became lax about time. Let’s hope Akihiro’s tardiness wasn’t directly influenced by Nakata, but rather a coincidence.”  (Sports newspaper reporter)

However, it is rumored that there was a surprising reason for his tardiness.

“While Nakata is often known for his mischievous side, his incredible dedication to training is well-known. During their voluntary workouts with Akihiro, they push each other to the limit, joking around and collapsing from exhaustion. Knowing Akihiro tends to lose weight easily, they set a quota for him to eat 12 cups of rice every day and even share the cost of food to support him. Thanks to this, Akihiro has gained about 8kg and now weighs 110kg.

Furthermore, it’s said that Nakata encourages Akihiro with words like this: ‘There are many players who end their careers after just one year. This year is going to be an important one.’ Akihiro often keeps up with Nakata’s intense training. Even during the offseason, they’re both exhausted every day. So, Akihiro’s tardiness might have been due to him being completely worn out from the intense workouts.” (Same source)

Was his tardiness due to a lack of motivation, or was it a result of the intense training? The answer will be revealed by Akihiro himself at the camp starting in February.


  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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