Nippon-Ham’s Remarkable Turnaround: Kiyomiya’s Transfer Rumors Swirl | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Nippon-Ham’s Remarkable Turnaround: Kiyomiya’s Transfer Rumors Swirl

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Kiyomiya, whose batting average fell below 10%, was demoted to the second team

This is this year’s Fighters!

exclaimed Tatsuki Mizuno of the Nippon Ham baseball team during his hero interview after he hit a sac fly in a game against Lotte on May 12. After the game, Tsuyoshi Shinjo posted a video of the players celebrating, saying, “These kids are too cute.” With three consecutive wins, the Fighters have accumulated a total of five points, tied for the most this season, and are chasing leader Softbank (as of May 14).

The fact that the team had been in last place for two consecutive years until last year was a complete lie. Why are this year’s Fighters so strong?

Manager Shinjo’s leadership has been right on the money, and he took a bold move on the 11th to use Nakamasa Mannami, who had been batting in the low 10% range in May, as the No. 6 pitcher. In that game, Mannami recovered with two hits and two runs batted in. After the game, Shinjo was in a good mood as he said to the press, “I hit the jackpot!

This is because Shinjo, now in his third year in the position, has been able to assess the players’ abilities. The past two years have been a period of “rattle-poll” to solidify the regulars, with various players being used in place of one another. This season, the positions of the fielders and pitchers are almost settled, and Shinjo is now able to take a more drastic approach in directing the team.

(Baseball team official)

While the team is gaining momentum, there is one player who has been “left out of the loop”: Kotaro Kiyomiya, who was demoted to the second team on May 6.

He injured his left foot just before the spring camp, and although he rejoined the first team on April 19, his batting average was below .083 in nine games. However, the lack of a mainstay in Kiyomiya’s lineup is not limited to this season. In 2010, he hit 18 home runs, but his batting average in the first team has been around 20% every year. Shinjo probably cannot consider the inconsistent Kiyomiya as a regular player.

(Sports newspaper reporter) There is a good chance that Kiyomiya will be traded if he is deemed “unusable” as a competitive force. In fact, at the end of last year, Kosei Yoshida, the ace of the Kinzoku Agricultural team who had wowed the Koshien Stadium, was traded to the Orix. Like Yoshida, Kiyomiya is also a first-round draft pick. If he fails to produce results, he may be drastically released.

Where will he be traded?

Kiyomiya has defensive difficulties. A possible trade target would be a team in the Pacific League, which has a designated hitter system. The rumored team is Seibu. The designated hitter is often Takeya Nakamura, but he is a 40-year-old veteran this year, so he is used on a rest day. First base, which Kiyomiya protects, also has no fixed regulars. The hole left by the main gun, Hotaka Yamakawa, cannot be filled, and Kiyomiya, who has the appeal of a one-hitter, is a key reinforcement for Seibu.

The “monster” who hit 111 home runs in high school is now in his seventh year as a pro. There is no more time to spare. What is required is results.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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