The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters’ Kiyomiya having burnt his boats. Weight Loss, Apprenticeship to Softbank Hawks’ Yanagita, and “Rumored Transfers”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters’ Kiyomiya having burnt his boats. Weight Loss, Apprenticeship to Softbank Hawks’ Yanagita, and “Rumored Transfers”.

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He will receive instruction from manager Shinjo at the fall camp. Next season will be a backwater year (Image: Jiji Press)

I was surprised when it came out of nowhere.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve never been a fan of the game or because I’ve never played it before. Kotaro Kiyomiya, 22, of Nippon Ham, contacted him to accompany Yanagita to his voluntary training session in Saga Prefecture in January of this year. There is no special connection between Kiyomiya and Yanagita. However, he wanted to apprentice himself to the same left-handed hitter, so he sent a request message to Yanagita’s LINE, which he learned from a mutual acquaintance. Yanagita readily agreed.

Kiyomiya is getting impatient as expected. This season, for the first time since he became a professional, he did not appear in the first team. His annual salary was also reduced for the first time (by 5 million yen to 17 million yen), and he said, ‘It’s gone down. It’s the full limit (25%, 23% for Kiyomiya),’ he said with regret.

At the press conference after the contract renewal, he also said, “I’m not going to be able to do this in my current condition. In the press conference after the contract renewal, he said, “In my current state, I cannot survive in this world. I want to be seen as a changed man in many ways. Manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo said at the fall camp, “You’re a little fat, aren’t you? You’ll be more popular if you lose weight. Kiyomiya lost 5 to 6 kilograms by taking early morning walks and revealed that he now weighs 98 kilograms.

During his time at Waseda Jitsugyo, Kiyomiya hit a total of 111 home runs, the most in high school history, and was called the “Japanese Babe Ruth. Seven teams competed for him in the draft. He has a good track record as a student.

He is smiling even when he makes mistakes.

But until now, my past achievements have been a hindrance. When Manager Shinjo asked me, ‘Why don’t you lose weight? I’m afraid that if I lose weight, the ball won’t fly. It seems that he was bound by the success he experienced at Waseda University. However, professional baseball is not so easy that the style of high school is acceptable.

His open-mindedness also has a negative effect. He may be desperate, but I think his upbringing is showing. …… Until last year, I often saw him smiling even when he made a mistake. Even though he wasn’t getting results, he was given opportunities to play in the first team, so he must have felt comfortable.

Will Kiyomiya really be able to change? Next season will be his fifth year as a professional. If he doesn’t produce results, he will be in danger of being forced off the field or released. There is a possibility that an unexpected team will try to acquire him.

The Giants. The first base position, where Kiyomiya specializes, is guarded by Sho Nakata, Wheeler, Hiroyuki Nakajima and others, but the position is not completely fixed. Kiyomiya is a young player with a lot of potential, and he can blossom if he changes his environment.

I think the Giants are a good fit for Kiyomiya to change. Nippon-Ham was laissez-faire and left the players to their own devices, but the Giants are strict. They have a lot of passionate coaches like Shinnosuke Abe and Daisuke Motoki. The fans and the media are also not lenient. I think this is the perfect environment for the placid Kiyomiya to regain his composure and awaken.

The cannon in distress has no more time to spare. Not only does he need to improve his technique and physical strength, but he also needs to change his mindset.

  • Photo Jiji Press

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