From a batter to an outfielder to a pitcher…Chunichi Neo’s special circumstance: “The way of using him keeps changing. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

From a batter to an outfielder to a pitcher…Chunichi Neo’s special circumstance: “The way of using him keeps changing.

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Neo made his pitching “debut” during general practice on June 15 (Image: Kyodo News)

The player with the red glove, number “7,” enters the bullpen. He threw about 30 pitches. After that, he did some running and finished his “first day” as a pitcher.

On June 15, Chunichi’s practice session was held at their home base, the Bantelindome. Takashi Neo (22), officially registered as a pitcher, worked out with the pitchers. However, during an interview after practice, he made a comment to the press that could be taken as an indication that he is not ready to become a hitter.

Of course, I want to hit more. I also want to pitch. I don’t care if people say I’m in the middle of things, but I’d like to be a …… player in both cases. If I have the opportunity to pitch, I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to bat as well.”

In the first team, his total batting average is .172.

Manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami told Nebo before the June 12 game against Nippon Ham that he would be pitching from now on. He told the press why he switched him from fielder to pitcher.

There are many ways to look at it, but we made the decision while respecting his opinion. I will support him as a pitcher, but I also told him that it is not that easy. ‘ I have high hopes for him to become a starting pitcher in the future.”

The decisive factor in his switch to pitching appears to be Nebo’s poor hitting.

His batting average was .172 with one home run and 70 strikeouts. His strikeouts totaled 70, far more than his hits (40). The only thing that stood out was my roughness.

The reason for the lack of results is his stubborn nature. Perhaps he is conscious of home runs, but even when the coaches give him careful advice on what to correct, he reverts to his big swing the next day. Norihiro Nakamura, the hitting coach, also complained, “Even if you give him a task to work on, he comes back to it immediately. Even if I give him a task to work on, he comes back to it immediately. It’s time for you to believe in me.

Nebo originally joined Chunichi after directly appealing to the team that he wanted to play solely as a catcher. However, when manager Tatsunami took over in November of last year, he declared, “Neo will play only outfield. Since then, he has been used in a number of different ways, including playing the outfield and pitching. Behind this change, there is a special situation at Chunichi.

Neo is still in his fourth year after graduating from high school (drafted first overall by Toin Osaka). It is too early to judge his potential as a fielder. Normally, he should be given one more year in the second team.

I believe that the front office has the intention of using him in the first team. Neo is a star of the Koshien Stadium, and he is a valuable presence for Chunichi, which has few nationally known players, to attract fans. I am sure they want him to play more and more games for the first team. However, manager Tatsunami, who was on the spot, had him try out for various positions in the field, but he found that Neo’s hitting ability was not good enough for the first team. Therefore, he probably took a chance on Neo’s potential as a pitcher, as he had played on the mound at the Koshien (Koshien Stadium).

(Sports newspaper reporter) Until now, no player in professional baseball has ever made it big as a fielder-turned-pitcher. Will Neo be a pioneer?

  • Photo: Kyodo News Kyodo News

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