Hanshin Tigers outfielder Yamato (26) missed the first team practice (on the 3rd) leading up to the Climax Series (starting on the 11th) because he was having his injured shoulder checked. It was supposedly injured during the Hiroshima Carp game (at Mazda Stadium) on the first of the month. The powers-that-be insist it’s a minor injury. Fans can only hope they’re right.
As the players huddled on the outfield grass, one of their key players on both offense and defense was not there. A sense of uncertainty ran through players’ minds as they started ramping up workouts heading in to their series against the Carp.
After practice, Manager Yutaka Wada said, “[Yamato] strained his (left) shoulder the day before last,” referring to the injury on Yamato’s attempt to make a diving catch on Makoto Suzuki’s hit (which ended up being a double) in the third inning of their game against the Carp (at Mazda Stadium) on the 1st. “It’s a process, and there’s nothing to report to you about, really. He is able to practice, but the only time he could get checked on was during practice time,” he continued, emphasizing that the checkup was done as a precaution.
Of course, he is in the starting lineup and the team needs him back healthy. The man who wears “0” on his back slumped through July and August, but has exploded in September, the very month that management insisted the team needed to be stronger through. In 24 games, he hit .409 (27-for-66), ending the season on a positive note. More than that, though, the center fielder covers a lot of ground on defense and has made countless great plays, bailing out the pitchers. In a series where one run can make all the difference, he is all the more valuable…
Outfield and base running coach Yamawaki also explained, “He’ll be out there (at practice) tomorrow. We were just taking necessary precautions.”
One week until the matchup against the Carp. We can only hope he shows up healthy at Koshien tomorrow (the 4th). We just pray that our worries are completely unfounded, and that the number two hitter, the man who holds the key to the Tigers’ success on offense and defense, is alright.