And it’s about as even-keeled as you would imagine.
Hideki Matsui was only “vaguely aware” of what Ozzie Guillen said over the weekend, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, but after being informed of the context of his remarks, he said the following through his interpreter Roger Kahlon:
“I think the circumstances might be a little different for us vs. Latin
players. If Latin
players came straight to the big leagues after playing in professional
leagues in their own country like Japanese players do, then I think they
would be treated exactly the same as Latin players in those
“I think there’s a good chance the circumstances may be a little similar
for Cuban players who played professionally there then defected and
came over here.”
Can’t argue with any of that. Matsui also mentioned the disparity between Asian and Latino ballplayers, and how most of the time, Latino players have a built-in support system, while Asian players do not.
Matsui has only had one Japanese teammate (Kei Igawa, sometimes) during his time in the major leagues, and as we recently learned with Hideki Okajima, he has battled with loneliness and homesickness due to the cultural divide. In other words, nobody has it perfect.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.