Yesterday Shohei Ohtani made his spring training debut for the Dodgers and homered in three at-bats. Today it was Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s turn to make his first appearance. He performed really well, and it wasn’t his fault the Dodgers lost their first game after five consecutive wins to open the Cactus League season.
In his first Cactus League start Wednesday against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium, the Japanese phenom tossed two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing just one hit in what ended up being the Dodgers’ first loss of the spring, a 6-4 defeat. Yamamoto threw 19 pitches, 16 for strikes, displaying his wide arsenal of pitches.
In total, Yamamoto threw 11 four-seam fastballs and was clocked between 94-96 mph. He threw three curveballs, all of which went for strikes. Yamamoto also threw the splitter and cutter, showing why he won the Eiji Sawamura Award three consecutive years in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league.
In other news, Max Muncy got hit with a curveball in his first AB and left the game with a contusion. He’s day-to-day (as Vinnie said, “aren’t we all”).
Tomorrow’s starter is yet another new acquisition: James Paxton. He’s a 6’4″, 212-lb lefthander with a lifetime record of 64-38 and 3.69 ERA. His career started well; he went 56-32 with a 3.50 ERA from 2013-2019. He’s had a tough three-year stretch since:
He was limited to just five starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after a strain of his left flexor tendon. Paxton also underwent spinal surgery in February 2020 as well.
One year later, Paxton’s 2021 season with the M’s lasted just one start after he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2022.