Rakuten’s Rui Okoye (24) is in a tough spot.
He suffered a cartilage defect in his left knee joint and had surgery on November 30 at a hospital in Chiba Prefecture. This is the second time this season that Okoye has undergone surgery, following the surgery on his left wrist in February. His full recovery has not yet been determined, and there is no timetable for his return.
He was drafted first overall in 2004 out of Kantoichi High School in Tokyo, but he hasn’t been able to produce results that satisfy the leaders. This season, he appeared in a game for the first time in two years, but on October 14 against SoftBank, he played sluggishly and allowed all runners with the bases loaded to come home. This caught GM and manager Kazuhisa Ishii off-guard, and he was demoted to the second team again.
He has strong shoulders 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……. The reason for Okoye’s slump is his mental health. The reason for his slump seems to be his mentality.
The reason for his sluggishness seems to be his mental state: “Every year, I affirm myself that I’m developing too well, but when I’m warned by coaches and managers, I get frustrated. He is uneven in his feelings.
In the off-season of 2004, he returned to Japan during the Asian Winter League in Taiwan because of a painful wisdom tooth. In the following year’s Winter League in Mexico, he struck out three batters in a row in his first game and was replaced midway through the game. He said, ‘Everything was different from what I expected.
Ishii complained immediately after Okoye’s contract was renewed at the end of last year.
He’s not thinking straight. I don’t want him to do his best, but if he doesn’t come out soon, his own baseball life will suffer. This is the critical moment. I feel that his self-esteem is a little high. He needs to peel off his skin. I can’t just give him a chance and say, ‘Here you go.
Perhaps because of Manager Ishii’s message, Okoye has been trying to change this season. He told the people around him, “I was useless in terms of my feelings (until last year). This year, I’m dealing with my mental aspect. She said there was someone who inspired her.
Her younger sister, Mominka, who represented Japan in the women’s basketball team at the Tokyo Olympics. She overcame an intractable disease called “white line hernia,” which is only found in a few dozen cases in Japan, and made it to the national team. She is said to have been positive during her fight against the disease and rarely showed weakness. Okoye must have been inspired by her stubborn attitude. My sister is doing her best, but what am I doing as her brother?
The surgery came just as she was about to make a fresh start after finally changing her mind. If his rehabilitation is prolonged, it may have a big impact on his future.
Even though he is the most popular player in the draft, he will be 25 years old next season. If he doesn’t produce results soon, the team will have no choice but to give him a harsh evaluation. If he doesn’t produce results soon, the team will have no choice but to give him a hard time.
As I mentioned above, Okoye’s physical ability is outstanding. As I mentioned above, Okoye’s physical ability is outstanding, and if Rakuten releases him, will any team try to acquire him? There are rumors of unexpected teams as candidates.
It’s DeNA, led by manager Daisuke Miura. One of the themes Miura has set this season is “running baseball. Under his predecessor, Ramirez, the team was unable to win because they neglected the details of baseball, such as running the bases and bunting. However, after this season, DeNA’s team stole 31 bases, the worst in 12 teams.
The current DeNA team has few players who can run. For manager Miura, Okoye, with his outstanding leg strength, is an attractive player. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to acquire him as a “leg specialist. Okoye has a lot of advantages, too. Takuro Ishii, who is known as a great instructor, will be joining us as a general fielding coach after leaving the Giants. He will be able to back up Okoye in both mental and technical aspects.
Okoye’s talent has not blossomed at Rakuten. Next season will be a critical time for him.
Photo： Jiji Press