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Shun Yamaguchi (YOK) tossed for throwing dangerous pitch at Tsubasa Aizawa (HIR)

by on Aug.02, 2012 @ 11:11 pm, under NPB

Hiroshima Carp at Yokohama Bay Stars

Top of the 9th, runners on first and second and one out.

Shun Yamaguchi on the mound for Yokohama.

Tsubasa Aizawa in to pinch-hit for Kam Mickolio.

Yamamguchi threw a 3-2 fastaball (148km/h) up and in that hit Aizawa in the head.  Aizawa dropped to the ground and remained there until a stretcher (and ambulance) took him off the field.  Play was paused for about twelve minutes.

"The ball hit the area under the left eye.  [Aizawa] was conscious.  I cannot say anything until after his evaluation." said Hiroshima GM Kiyoaki Suzuki.  Source: Sports Hochi 8/2/2012

Yamaguchi is the fifth CL pitcher (seventh overall) to be ejected from a game this year for throwing a dangerous pitch.



(Youtube videos not mine)

UPDATE @ 11:33pm -

A couple updates:

  • The Bay Stars turned down the hero interview out of concern for Aizawa.  Source: Sponichi 8/2/2012
  • Yamaguchi: "I am very sorry for hitting him in the most dangerous of places. ... Is Aizawa ok?  The only thing I can do is pray for a quick recovery."  Source: Sponichi 8/2/2012
  • Kenjiro Nomura: "It was near the face, apparently straight on from the front.  [Aizawa] was conscious."  And Kiyoshi Nakahata: "[Aizawa's] eyes were open.  I heard they called the ambulance as a precaution."  Source: Mainichi 8/2/2012

UPDATE 8/3 @ 1:07pm

Aizawa was diagnosed with a fractured nose.  Other tests did not reveal any problems with brain activity.  Aizawa was not hospitalized and was allowed to return to the team hotel (his nose was taped up).  He is scheduled to undergo another evaluation today in Hiroshima.  Source: Sports Hochi 8/3/2012

A couple other notes:

UPDATE 8/3 @ 7:46pm - Aizawa was re-evaluated today and cleared of any additional problems.  He will likely require three to four months for a full recovery.  Source: Sports Hochi 8/3/2012

10 comments on “Shun Yamaguchi (YOK) tossed for throwing dangerous pitch at Tsubasa Aizawa (HIR)

    1. npbcardguy

      I was watching the game when it happened – Yamaguchi was all over the place. One of the pitches just before he hit him bounced before it reached the plate. I seriously doubt Yamaguchi intended to hit him in the face.

    2. Steve Novosel

      I seriously doubt he intended to hit him in the face either, but i don’t see how intent is relevant. He threw 148 km/h in a player’s face, a pro must have better control than that if he’s going to throw at that velocity.

    3. Nathan

      Yeah, maybe I’m too oldschool, but I don’t think suspension is necessary. He can’t possibly have meant to hit him in the face. I bet the Baystars will ‘sit’ him anyways for a few games.. just to get his head all cleared up. If he did mean to hit him in the head, forget suspension, he needs to go to jail.

      I remember Aoki getting hit in the head years ago (vs the Dragons I believe). Not sure if the pitcher got suspended for that.

      Either way, here’s to a quick and full recovery for Mr. Aizawa.

  1. Kawa

    And he’s the same guy who broke Chunichi’s Tony Blanco’s hand last month with another wild pitch. I agree that he should be suspended, the guy is dangerous.

  2. Onion

    I would bet that you could not find one single player in NPB, MLB or other high level league who thinks a pitcher should be suspended for accidentally hitting a batter. That includes Aizawa himself.

    1. Steve Novosel

      I bet you could. It’s an automatic game ejection in NPB, at least. Dunno about suspension, but I would guess someone who is a repeat offender like Yamaguchi would be suspended at least unofficially.

  3. Gen Post author

    What’s interesting is how similar the Blanco HBP and the Aizawa HBP are: both were on fastballs (the one to Blanco was clocked at 150km/h) and in both cases the catchers had their glove set at about knee level to the batter.


    Based on the game situations, it would really make no sense for Yamaguchi to try and hit either batter. Based on where the catcher was setting up his target, it would seem to me that Yamaguchi wasn’t even trying to throw the pitch up and in.

    Assuming these two are true, then the pitch most likely slipped out of Yamaguchi’s hand. Unless a suspension can cure Yamaguchi of that, I’m not really sure how effective it will be.

    UPDATE: I think it will be interesting to see how Yamaguchi approaches his next outing. The sooner he gets back on the mound, the better I think it will be for him (at least from a mental and emotional standpoint).

    1. Steve Novosel

      But Gen, isn’t this a similar situation to Whitesell’s bat-to-the-head problems from earlier this year? Clearly he was not trying to injure the catcher but he was putting the catcher in danger by hitting him with the bat.

      Perhaps it’s not “From the Commissioner’s Office” suspension worthy but if a player has that poor of command that he’s endangering the health if not the life of his opponents, that player has too poor control to be pitching in a competitive game. Send him to ni-gun. Have him work with the instructors to refine his grip or his stride or his release point or whatever issue that is causing him to throw such dangerous pitches. But don’t put him in a competitive game vs live batters until he gets that fixed.

    2. Gen Post author

      I think you’re comparing apples to oranges.

      HBPs are a part of the game. They happen frequently. They are usually the result of a pitcher purposely throwing at a batter, or making a mistake (trying to pitch inside, ball slips out of the hand).

      On the other hand, a bat hitting a catcher isn’t part of the game. It also doesn’t happen as often as an HBP.

      Now, the part about responsibility… This I can understand and I think this argument makes sense. And so the question is, would it be responsible for the Bay Stars to continue putting Yamaguchi on the mound, knowing he has control issues?

      If he hadn’t hit Aizawa in the head, it probably would have gone unnoticed (at least to some degree). But the fact is, he did hit Aizawa in the head and he has struggled with his control a bit (he has hit five batters in 35.2 innings of work this season).

      I think the Bay Stars essentially have one of two options:
      1) pitch him in a low-pressure situations while working out the kinks. Maybe early in the game, or in a blow-outs.
      2) demote him, stick a coach on him, have him work on his mechanics.

      Of the two options, I think the second makes the most amount of sense and would allow him to work through his issues while they are still fresh.

      In both cases, I also think it’s important to get him back into games (or live situations like batting practice) as soon as possible because the longer he waits, the more time he’ll have to think, and that could end up working against him.

      UPDATE: Incidentally, I think the same goes for Aizawa — he should try to get back into the batter’s box as soon as possible and not wait things out for too long.

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