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Details from Yusei Kikuchi’s first “pro” start

by on Mar.09, 2010 @ 3:08 pm, under NPB, Spring Camp

=== 3/12/2010 1:32am JST

Daisuke Matsuzaka gave Kikuchi three main tips:

  1. When pitching out of the set position, the lower body becomes very important.
  2. Don't over-think, do what comes natural.
  3. Have fun while pitching.

=== 3/11/2010 1:50am JST

Kikuchi threw 22 pitches from the set position, 15 of which went for balls (31 pitches and 8 balls using his normal no wind-up delivery)  And it was the during the fourth pitch to Kenji Yano in the 2nd inning that he balked.

=== 8:33pm JST

Pitching from the set position, Kikuchi threw his fastball in the 130km/h range.  Hisanobu Watanabe said that based on what he knows of Kikuchi, he might be ready for Ichi-gun some time in May or June.

=== 8:06pm JST

Despite it being a weekday, with snow outside, with temps at about 2 degrees Celsius, 3,743 fans were in attendance at Tuesday's game.

=== 3/10/2010 1:50pm JST

Some comments from Yomiuri Giant players:

Taishi Ohta via Sanspo: He looked confident out there.

Itaru Hashimoto via Sponichi (faced Kikuchi in 2008): I think he had a better fastball in high school.  His slider was also breaking a little early and didn't have a lot of velocity.

Ken Kato via Sponichi: I only saw two pitches so I can't say much, but they did get a lot of the plate.

Daisuke Fujimura via Sponichi: His pitches didn't seem very lively.  His fastball wasn't as good as I thought it would be, and his slider didn't have a lot of bit.

=== 11:29pm JST

Looks like Yusei Kikuchi already has something to start working on until his next start.  Seems he had some trouble pitching out of the set position (decrease in velocity / movement and accuracy).  And while it was fairly chilly, Kikuchi also said that he didn't want to use cold as an excuse for his sub-par outing.

=== 3/9/2010 3:08pm JST

Yusei Kikuchi started an Ikusei League game against the Yomiuri Giants on Tuesday, March 9, 2010.  It was his first "pro" start.  Kikuchi went 2 innings while giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and and 3 walks.  He threw a total 54 pitches and topped out at 144km/h.  Kikuchi also balked in the second inning.

Sanspo has some pictures from the game.

Inning recap (via Nikkan Sports)

1st Inning

Itaru Hashimoto single to center.  Thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.  The first pitch was a fastball clocked at 135km/h.  He threw a total 11 pitches to Hashimoto.

Daisuke Fujimura grounded out to short.

Taishi Ohta grounded out to short on the third pitch.

2nd Inning

Ryuichi Kajimae grounded out to short.

Masakuni Odajima singled to left.

Kenji Yano walked.  Runners on first and second, 1 out.

Hiroki Nakazawa walked to load the bases.

Ken Kato hit a 2-run single into left.  Odajima and Yano scored.

Takahiro Suzuki walked to re-load the bases.

Hashimoto hit a sac fly to center.  Nakazawa scored.

Fujimura grounded out to second.