Tsutsugo Yoshitomo (32), who once served as the 4th batsman for the Japanese national team, is continuing a tough fight in the United States. Tsutsugo signed another minor league contract and challenged the big leagues once again.안전놀이터
On the 21st, Japanese media including ‘Sponichianex’ reported that ‘Tsutsugo has agreed to a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants’. If Tsutsugo passes the medical test, he is expected to wear a San Francisco uniform and aim for promotion to the major leagues.
Tsutsugo was a proven left-handed hitter who served as the 4th hitter for the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team. He recorded a batting average of 0.285, 205 homers, and 613 RBIs while spending 10 seasons with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). In 2016, he swept the NPB Central League home run and RBI titles. Based on his proven performance in Japan, he declared a challenge to the big leagues after the 2019 season, and achieved his dream by signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays through the posting system.
However, after writing, he could hardly adapt to the stage of his dreams. His position was narrowed as he repeatedly received notices of release, disregarding his past as a giant gun representing Japan. In Tampa Bay, a competitive landscape was drawn with first baseman Choi Ji-man (currently San Diego Padres) at the time, but after hitting only 0.197, 8 home runs and 24 RBIs in 51 games in 2020, he was released without completing the contract period. In fact, he was pushed out of competition with Choi Ji-man.
Tsutsugo’s bad luck did not end there. He tried to make a comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, but was released again after remaining with a batting average of 0.120 and 2 RBIs in 12 games.
At least, I was able to continue my chances at the Pittsburgh Pirates, which run a club with a focus on promising players. Tsutsugo won a one-year renewal contract with Pittsburgh after showing an upward trend with 43 games, 0.268 batting average, 8 home runs, and 25 RBIs in 2021. Of course, the happiness didn’t last long. Tsutsugo struggled with a batting average of 0.171, 2 homers and 19 RBIs in 50 games last year, but was released again.
After ending up in Pittsburgh, I didn’t get a major league call-up opportunity anymore. Afterwards, he signed minor league contracts with the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers in turn, but was released one after another without ever making it to the big league roster.
The NPB club has consistently reached out to Tsutsugo, who is struggling. Several clubs, including his home team Yokohama, suggested that he continue his playing career in Japan, but Tsutsugo chose to remain in the United States. Before talking about a minor league contract with San Francisco, he played for the Staten Island Ferry Hawks of the American Independent League and the Atlantic League. He stood out in San Francisco thanks to a batting average of .479 (14-for-39), seven homers, 13 RBI, and a 1.429 OPS in 12 independent league games.
As of the 21st, San Francisco is in second place in the National League West with 65 wins and 59 losses. Although there is a gap of 11.5 games with the LA Dodgers, the number one player in the district, they are raising their hopes for fall baseball by finishing second in the National League wild card race.
Nikkan Sports said, ‘Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford, left-handers like Tsutsugo, are on the injured list. The major leagues implemented a 28-man roster expansion from September, and if you put your name on the major league 40-man roster by September 1, you can qualify for the postseason.” I hoped that Tsutsugo would realize his dream in San Francisco.