The mound was canceled, and eventually the first team was expunged… What on earth happened to Japan’s ‘165km monster’ Sasaki?

Will Rocky Sasaki (Chiba Lotte Marines), a ‘monster’ who runs ‘up to 165 km’, ultimately not be able to finish this season in the first team? He returned from a major injury, but was again expunged from the first team.바카라

Sasaki was scheduled to appear in the 2023 Japanese Professional Baseball Pacific League match against Softbank Hawks held at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba, Japan on the 24th (Korean time). However, Sasaki could not be seen on the mound in that game.

Sasaki achieved ‘stardom’ by achieving a ‘perfect game’ against the Orix Buffaloes early last season, receiving tremendous attention from around the world. It was a moment when his potential exploded, befitting the title of ‘special prospect’ that had received a lot of attention since he joined the team. However, Sasaki only recorded 9 wins, 4 losses, and an ERA of 2.02 last year.

What held Sasaki back was an injury. Sasaki had to take a long hiatus ahead of the All-Star break due to blisters on his fingers. Sasaki returned to the mound in the second half, but this time his stamina caused trouble. A disappointing moment due to his lack of experience as he has not played a full-time season since joining the pros. Sasaki never regained the dominant form of his first half, and his first 10 wins of his career were postponed until the following day.

Still, Sasaki, who was selected as a member of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team and contributed greatly to helping the Japanese national team lift the championship trophy, showed even greater growth this year. He raised his highest velocity from 164km to 165km, and ran at a tremendous pace, becoming the first player to reach 100 strikeouts in both the Pacific and Central Leagues in just 11 appearances. But here another variable occurred.

Just like last year, a blister occurred this time, and Sasaki had to take a break of over a month again. Sasaki, who swept the Pacific League pitching index, had no choice but to come down from the leading position. He then returned to the mound, but disappeared again after the Softbank game on July 24th. The reason was a rupture of his left inner oblique muscle.

As Sasaki was expected to be out for at least two months, it seemed like he would actually be sentenced to a ‘season out’. However, based on the so-called ‘insane recovery’, Sasaki signaled his return by starting bullpen pitching a month after injury, and made his comeback against Orix on the 10th in Jizan. At that time, Sasaki pitched 45 pitches and gave up 1 run (1 earned) in 3 innings, and in his second appearance against the Seibu Lions, he pitched 70 pitches and gave up 3 runs (3 earned) in 3 innings.

He threw around 50 pitches in his first appearance and 70 pitches in his second appearance, so he was scheduled to throw 90 to 100 pitches in his appearance on the 24th, but Sasaki was nowhere to be seen. According to multiple local media outlets, including Japan’s Nikkan Sports, on the 25th, the reason Sasaki missed the game on the 24th was due to ‘fever.’ And he was expunged from the first team according to the regulation called ‘Special Provision 2023’ prior to the game on the 25th.

The system called ‘Special Case 2023’ is a system that can be used when a new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) is suspected. It is a special system that allows him to return immediately even if 10 days have not passed since he was expunged from the first team if he is diagnosed with COVID-19. It may be seen as a simple condition hunting, but

Currently, in addition to Sasaki, Chiba Lotte has many players who have been excluded from the first team due to symptoms of ‘fever’. Kazuya Ojima was expunged on the 22nd, and Kouki Yamaguchi and Yudai Fujioka were expunged the day before (the 24th), and on the 25th, along with Sasaki, former major leaguers Hirokazu Sawamura and Hiromi Oka were excluded from the first team due to fever. For Chiba Lotte, this is truly a ‘thunderbolt.’

Currently, Chiba Lotte is ranked 4th in the Pacific League, slightly behind 3rd place Rakuten Golden Eagles in winning percentage as of the end of the game on the 25th. In the case of Japan, only the top 3rd place in each league can advance to the postseason, which is not a situation that can be taken lightly. Chiba Lotte has played the fewest games in the Pacific League, and it is unclear how the remaining 10 games until the end of the regular season will play out.

If Sasaki does not return to the mound before the end of the regular season, and Chiba Lotte also fails to perform on the fall stage, we will no longer be able to see Sasaki. Still, the condition does not seem to be serious, with a high fever of over 38 degrees Celsius. Coach Masato Yoshii added, “It’s not that his condition is getting worse. We’ll keep a close eye on him.”

This year, he failed to achieve 10 wins due to schedule, but it remains to be seen whether he can shake off the injury and return to the mound to achieve the finale with a victory. Sasaki has been particularly eventful around the All-Star break last year and this year.

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