Although both Marcos Mateo and Roman Mendez came off the airplane in t-shirts, for some reason only the latter made headlines for his attire. The flame-throwing Dominican relievers arrived in the Kansai area on the 28th with huge smiles on their faces.
When asked about how he was feeling, Mateo said, “I’m really happy to be back in Japan. I feel like I have prepared my body and mind for the season ahead.” Prompted about his weight, which was supposed to be 107 kg or lower according to manager Tomoaki Kanemoto‘s orders, the portly closer said, “I don’t know what I way. I didn’t pay attention to the scales.” Take that for what it’s worth, but he does not look to be any bigger than he was last year, so at least that is good news. (I have no doubt the Japanese media will have several stories about his girth once he starts working out next week in Okinawa.)
For his part, Mendez drew stares for dressing in all black – including a t-shirt (gasp!). He was asked if he would try to top 160 km/h this season (he has hit 159 km/h on the radar guns in America). His answer: “The season has not yet begun. I don’t have any numbers in mind, I just want to get ready for the season.” Welcome to the Japanese media, Mendez. I’m surprised they didn’t ask you what your impressions of Japan were so far. You know, because the 10 minutes in the airport are long enough to be impressed. If you ARE asked, I recommend you say that you like it a lot, the food is good, and you’re looking forward to eating sushi. That’ll please them.