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Sanspo interviews Yakult Swallow Kazuhiro Hatakeyama

by on Dec.30, 2011 @ 5:36 pm, under NPB

Sanspo has posted the following interview with Yakult Swallow Kazuhiro Hatakeyama:

You set career highs with 23 homers and 85 RBIs.  Your thoughts on the past season.

I do not think my numbers are particularly great.  There are some that say the kind season I had this year should help with my confidence, but I lost a lot of that due to my failures at the end.  I am really disappointed we could not win a championship and frustrated that I could not do more to help.

You batted .241 (14-for-58) in October.  You were also benched during the Climax Series.

My batting stance places a lot of physical strain on me.  I did not really feel it much during the season, but I felt it when I swung the bat during the fall camp that took place after the Climax Series.  My timing was off near the end.  Instead of changing my stance, I want to build up my body so that it can withstand the strain.  Especially my lower body.

Junji Ogawa was the Ni-gun manager when you joined the team and he was fairly strict with you.  Did you feel like you had to give something back to him?

Everyone knows what kind of person Ogawa kantoku is.  He helped me out a lot and I owe him the most so I strongly felt the desire to make him a winner.  He was always all over me when I was at Ni-gun.  There was one time he hit me when I went to the outfield to pick up baseballs and tried to make a fancy behind-the-back catch.

You are from Ishinomaki, Iwate.  What were you thinking when the March 11 earthquakes hit?

I was shocked when I turned on the TV.  There were people I knew in those areas.  A high school friend's house was washed away by the tsunami.  Despite all of that, there were people in that area that cheered me on.  I wanted to come through, more than ever, for those people as well.

Perhaps next year will be the first year since 2001 that the Swallows win it all.

It was a frustrating year, but I also found out my areas I need to address.  Beginning this winter, I signed up with a training facility and I have a trainer that is mapping out exercises for me to do.  [My goal] is to drive in more than 100 runs.  I was in good position to compete for the RBI title this year, but I failed at the end.  I plan to take revenge next year.