On the one hand, the World Baseball Classic (WBC) is a stage where the preparation for the season competes for ‘speed’. As the first round of the tournament begins in early March, around the time of the demonstration matches in each league, players selected for the national team must speed up their pace around 15 days more than usual to show performance close to normal. Group B, which includes South Korea, Japan, Australia, China and the Czech Republic, will start the group stage on March 9th. This is why Lee Kang-chul, head coach of the Korean national team, said at the first meeting on the 16th, “I hope you will build up your body well before the national team training.” 안전놀이터
A piece of news that can detect the speed at which the Japanese national team is preparing for the tournament has been delivered. According to an internet report on the 24th of the Japanese sports newspaper ‘Sponichi’, Japanese national team pitching coach Yoshii Masato, who is also Chiba Lotte, told Loki Sasaki (21), Chiba Lotte ace and one of the national team’s starting lineup, before joining the Miyazaki national team camp on February 17th. He instructed to digest ’30 pitches for actual combat’.
Sasaki is a right-handed fireballer who throws a fast ball with a maximum speed of 164 km. In this national team, he will be included in one of the four required starters during the tournament.
Japanese professional baseball teams usually enter mid-February and start a full-scale practice game. Usually, the main starting pitchers make their first appearance on the mound in late February at the earliest. After that, the number of pitches is gradually raised, and around the end of March or early April before the opening, a certain number or more is thrown so that the pitcher can climb to the starting mound. Considering this, it can be interpreted that this year’s Sasaki plans to increase the training speed by 15 days. This also seems to be a message that was generally delivered to the pitchers of the Japanese national team.
Chiba Lotte will stay on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan with the start of camp in February and move to the main island on February 13th. With Chunichi on February 14 and Yakult on the 15th, Sasaki is likely to start in one of these matches. In these games, rookie-level young players are usually on the mound, and Sasaki is also a picture of joining the actual fighting group.
According to the report, Sasaki recorded 163 km/h in a practice game against Nippon Ham on February 19 last year, when he was classified as a rookie after joining the club for 3 years. This is news that will make the Korean national team nervous.