Trade Release Crisis for Nippon Ham’s Kiyomiya, Despite being The First to Have Two Hits in a Row | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Trade Release Crisis for Nippon Ham’s Kiyomiya, Despite being The First to Have Two Hits in a Row

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Shinjo welcomes Kiyomiya to the bench after he hit back-to-back home runs on May 5 (Image: Kyodo News)<Finally, a sense of awakening in the fifth year.>

<Signs of evolution with the “Thanks to You” homerun.>

The sports pages praised Kotaro Kiyomiya, 22, of Nippon Ham, for his first two home runs in a row as a professional baseball player, the first of which he hit into the right-field bleachers while swimming, and the second into the middle of the right-field stands. The second was an oversized shot that sailed an estimated 120 meters into the middle of the right field bleachers. After the game, Kiyomiya was very talkative with the press.

“I was lucky. It was Children’s Day. Thanks to the children and the fans.”


Nevertheless, his batting average has been hovering around the 20% mark, and his strikeout rate is high, with 25 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. Considering that he did not appear in a single game for the first team last year, “awakening” is probably too much praise.

Kiyomiya cites the perfume from his seniors as the reason he was able to hit two batters in a row. Before the game, Kensuke Kondoh, whose locker was next to his and who was out of the lineup, was organizing his belongings. Suddenly, he was sprayed with perfume, saying, ‘Go with this,’ and he was able to hit a home run with a ‘very nice smell’. It was probably lip service to the press, but professionals are not so naive as to be awakened by perfume,” said a baseball team official.

“I guess it’s not true.”

Manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo was very critical of Kiyomiya, praising him for his two hits in a row, saying, “He’s getting a good feeling about it.”

In the April 30 game against Lotte, Kiyomiya was replaced in the fourth at bat after giving up a timely hit in his first at-bat. Manager Shinjo explained the reason for his decision. He said, “Even if it was an ordinary hit, if he had swung the ball the way I wanted him to, I wouldn’t have replaced him. Even if I struck out, I would use him if I had a feeling that I could count on him next time. There was no pause at the beginning of the season. It’s more like he’s hitting at the right time.


On May 2, Shinjo also made a comment suggesting a trade, although he did not say so explicitly with Kiyomiya.

“I said that If we could trade more and more, it would be like a seven-for-seven deal. If the ballpark is too small (in the spacious Sapporo Dome), a hit just before the fence is a home run. On the other hand, if a player with fast feet comes to Sapporo Dome, his defensive range will be wider and he will have a better chance to win a regular position.” Reporters were wondering if he was thinking of the slow-footed Kiyomiya, even though he has the ability to hit long balls.

Kiyomiya is a future candidate for the No. 4 position, having hit a total of 111 home runs, the most in high school history. Not only Shinjo, but also GM Atsunori Inaba and general fielding coach Makoto Kaneko have been working closely with him. However, he is far from “awakening”. What is the problem? Dave Okubo, who has coached at Seibu and Rakuten, says, “There are two major issues.”

“The first is that he lacks dexterity. His words and actions give the impression that he is clumsy, but Kiyomiya is very dexterous. He can take any swing he wants, but he doesn’t have a solid form. If he wants to become a home run hitter, he should find the point where he can make the ball fly and discard the dexterity that allows him to hit the bat with his fingertips.”

The second is his straightforward personality. You may have been raised well, but when you enter the ballpark, you are attentive and attentive to the seniors around you. What is important is not being liked by the alumni and leaders, but his performance. Right now, Kiyomiya seems to be depressed because of the lack of results despite high expectations. His personality is too good. I want him to be more indolent. If he doesn’t hit, I want him to think boldly, ‘It’s my fault for using him,’ and if he does hit, I want him to think boldly, ‘Of course, I’m Kiyomiya’.”

“I don’t listen to the media reports or the voices of the outside world, except for the parts that will benefit me. What is important for Kiyomiya to do to dispel the trade rumors may be to build a solid self that does not care about those around him.”

  • Photo Kyodo News

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