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The Dodgers Reveal Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Spring Debut Date

The Los Angeles Dodgers will have Yoshinobu Yamamoto scheduled to pitch two innings against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday. A day after announcing Shohei Ohtani will make his first Cactus League appearance on Tuesday, the Japanese phenom is ready to showcase his talents on the mound. It’ll be the first time that Yamamoto gets into Cactus League action in a Dodger uniform. Yamamoto and Ohtani’s debuts are highly anticipated. These two are arguably the Dodgers’ best players.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Debut Date

When free agency began, the Dodgers made it clear that Yamamoto was one of their top targets. The club has been scouting him for years as the excitement around him is growing more each day. The Dodgers were able to do just that by signing Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million deal, making him the highest-paid pitcher in Major League history despite not throwing a pitch. He is off winning the pitching Triple Crown and is a three-time Eiji Sawamura Award winner (the equivalent of the Cy Young Award).

Yamamoto Sharp in Batting Practice Session

The Japanese right-hander pitched live batting practice for the first time over the weekend. While in the bullpen, many Dodgers players lined up on one side of the fence and a swarm of media and cameras watching on the other. Yamamoto joined batterymate Will Smith where he threw 30 pitching for 10 or so minutes.

“It was good for me to have the opportunity to face actual hitters,” Yamamoto said through his interpreter. “I think this is not the best yet, and I’m going to keep adjusting with what I need to and it’s going to keep getting better.”

Yamamoto will be a key piece to help boost the Dodger’s pitching. Los Angeles also traded for Tyler Glasnow, signed James Paxton and brought back Clayton Kershaw. Heading into the season, the Dodgers are ranked as one of the top projected rotations in the National League.

Quick Profile on the Japanese Phenom

The 25-year-old is a potential frontline starter. He features a fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and comes with wipeout secondary pitches including his signature curveball, splitter, and cutter/slider. Yamamoto did unthinkable to add to his legacy with a 14-strikeout complete game on 138 pitchers. It turned out to be his final NPB start, leading the Orix Buffaloes to victory in Game 6 of the Japan Series. They lost the series to the Hanshin Tigers, but Yamamoto’s performance was a highlight reel.

On Wednesday, Yamamoto will have the attention as he gets his first taste of baseball in North America. He will look to follow in the footsteps of other Japanese pitchers who successfully transitioned from NBP to MLB. Hideo Nomo, Yu Darvish, Kenta Maeda and Masahiro Tanaka were the many standouts in the majors.

Main Photo: © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


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