Less than 24 hours after arriving in Japan, newly signed infielder Eric Campbell met the press in Nishinomiya on the 27th. Below is a translation of what was found online. Some answers were transcribed from video I saw, the rest were my best attempt at translating.
―How do you feel now about joining the Hanshin organization？
I’m really excited. I’ve been looking forward to this day for the past few months. I’m really glad to finally be here in Japan.
I just felt like it was good timing for me to come out to Japan. My contract ended with the Mets, and I had a few offers from other teams, but the Tigers also approached me at the same time. I thought it would be a good opportunity, so I decided to come over to Japan.
―What is your impression of Japanese pro ball and the Tigers？
I know the fans here are really passionate, which is something I experienced in New York. So I’m excited to play in front of a lot of people. I know they take their baseball seriously. They’re very fundamental, which I can appreciate, so I think my style of play is going to fit in nicely with the team.
―How would you describe yourself as a player？
I think I use the whole field when I hit, I can barrel a lot of balls. Whether those balls go out of the park or not, we’ll see what happens. But I’m also proud of how I play defense and run the bases as well. I don’t really consciously try to make superb plays, but just stick to the basics and try to play fundamentally sound baseball.
―The team is hoping to put you in the heart of the order and become a key player. Tell us your thoughts about that.
Yeah, I think the team has high hopes for me, but I also have high expectations on myself, too. I hope my play can back that up. I don’t have any specific number goals. I just want to contribute to the team’s success in whatever way I can. That’s what matters most to me.
―What position do you hope to play？
One of the things that helped me, playing with New York (Mets) was moving around a lot to different positions: first base, third base, left field and right field. That said, wherever the team needs me most, I’m more than happy to either stay in one position, or also move around.
―What do you hope to accomplish in Japan？
I just want to play hard and contribute to the team’s success. If I can get off to a good start from the beginning, hopefully I can build on the momentum throughout the season. I just hope my play helps the team win games.
Added on 1/28:
－Was #29 your choice？
When I joined the Mets and cracked the major league roster for the first time I was wearing number 29. I wore it for three years, and since it was available here I decided on it.
－We heard reports that you are a descendant of Scottish royalty…
No, not to the best of my knowledge, I’m not.
－What is your image of Japanese pitchers?
I faced a few Japanese pitchers in America, and they’re basically the same. But I get the impression they mix their speed and location well.
－And (Daisuke) Matsuzaka was your teammate…
Yes. I saw him pitch while he was with the Red Sox, and never imagined we would become teammates with the Mets.
－Which Japanese pitchers did you face?
Darvish. I also faced a few in the minors, but I’m not good at remembering names.
－(Matt) Murton set a record in Japan by getting 214 hits in his first season. Is that something you were aware of?
Not really. I just want to do what I can while I’m on the field, play my game, and hope that when I look back on the season, I can see good results.
－Hanshin has a strong rivalry with the Giants…
I imagine a lot of fans come out to games against the Giants, but I don’t know a lot about them.