New relief pitcher Roman Mendez (age 26, formerly of the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers) arrived in Japan on the 28th and met the press formally for the first time on the 29th in Nishinomiya. Here is a partial transcript of his Q & A:
I’m really happy. Hanshin has given me a chance to come to Japan, and I hope to be able to live up to expectations.
－How are you feeling?
I feel really good. I feel ready to get to work.
－Why did you decide on Hanshin?
I wanted to try playing in another country. When I was playing in America, I got to talk to some Japanese players about baseball in Japan, and wanted to give it a try.
－And what are your impressions of Japanese baseball?
It sounded really good to me. I felt like I could really grow as a player if I were to go there.
－And what was most appealing to you about it?
I felt like they take their baseball serious, and they are very well organized.
－What’s your impression of Hanshin?
It’s just my second day here, but from what I hear they’re a really good team and the organization is well run.
－What are your strengths as a player?
I’ve come this far on my fastball, slider and forkball. Those are my best pitches.
－What’s your proudest moment as a player?
In a game against Anaheim, I came into the game with the bases loaded and somehow got three outs without giving up a run. Probably that game.
I want to establish myself as having an important role, whether that’s the 8th or 9th inning. I just want to give my all wherever I’m needed.
－What kind of numbers do you hope to put up?
I want to throw as many innings as possible. If I’m given the ninth inning then I want to get as many saves as I can. That will help the team win games.
－You get to be teammates with Kyuji (Fujikawa) again…
I’m really happy about that. It’s great to be able to play with someone I was together with in America, too. I hope to put what I learned from him into practice here.
－You seem like a pretty gentlemanly guy. What are you like on the mound?
I’m pretty quiet now, but on the mound I can get pretty emotional.
－Do you have any words for the fans?
Nice to meet you. I look forward to doing battle with my teammates here.
－Tell us your hopes for this year, in Japanese.
Hahaha. I don’t know any Japanese yet, but I will try to learn the language little by little.