Minor league contract…Reason why Yoshitomo Tsutsugo “will not return to Japan even though he has been out of the lineup three times | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Minor league contract…Reason why Yoshitomo Tsutsugo “will not return to Japan even though he has been out of the lineup three times

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Tsutsuka is aiming to remain in the U.S. and be promoted to the majors again, even though it is unlikely (Image: AP/Afro)

This is the fourth time he has been transferred to the United States.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, 30, who was effectively ruled out by the Pirates, will sign a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on August 16 (Japan time). He will play in the minors with the 3A Buffaloes until September, with the aim of being promoted to the majors.

This is the third time Tsutsuka has been ruled out of the majors; the Rays, who had signed him to a two-year, $12 million (about ¥1.31 billion) contract starting in 2008, ruled him out the following May due to poor hitting. He was immediately transferred to the Dodgers, but was demoted to the minors in June. Even with the Pirates, whom he joined midway through last season, he suffered from back pain, and this season he was sluggish with a .171 batting average and two home runs.

Tsutsuka is one of Japan’s leading sluggers. He hit a total of 205 homers in 10 years with the BayStars, where he started his professional career. He also played the fourth position for the Samurai Japan team. Why hasn’t he been able to make a mark in the majors?

A fatal weakness that has been discovered.

He was pushed back by the fastballs of major league pitchers. Tsutsuka had always been a good hitter in Japan, aiming at breaking balls and breaking pitches, but in the Majors, there were many times when he couldn’t time his fastball correctly and struck out. He also had a habit of pulling to the lights. Even if I got a good hit once in a while, the other team had a special shift to right, so it was easy to catch me.

Of course, the leaders of the teams that acquired him understood Tsutsuka’s weakness. But since he is a top-notch Japanese hitter, they probably expected that he would be able to adjust. As you can imagine, it was so awful ……. I think Tsutsuka is desperate, but because of his serious nature, he is in a state of anguish and his slump is accelerating.

Tsutsuka’s future is not bright, and it is hard to imagine the majors taking another look at a player who has been out of the lineup three times and is now over 30 years old. There is also the case of Shogo Akiyama, who was effectively ruled out by the Reds and is now playing for Hiroshima. I think a return to Japanese baseball is a realistic option. ……

Tsutsuka seems determined to cut his teeth in the U.S., even in the minors or independent leagues. Tsutsuka would have a hard time returning to Japan, too, since he announced to BayStars fans on Fan Appreciation Day in the off-season of 2007, “I’m going to try out for the majors! I’m going to try out for the Majors! I can’t stand my reputation.

In the off-season of 2003, I participated in the Winter League in Dominica, where I was covered in mud in a facility that was not exactly blessed with good facilities. He is accustomed to harsh environments. He may return to Japan in the future, but at least for the rest of this year, he will struggle in the minors and try to make it to the majors. Tsutsuka is not the type of player to take the easy way out.

3A is called the “hamburger league” because of the poor environment and poor quality of food. Tsutsuka always talked about playing in the Majors as his “dream. He dared to take the hard road to realize his dream again.

  • Photo AP/Afro

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