Spring Camp Team News

I Just Cannot Stop Talking About Aja Inoue!

AJA I wasn’t sure what would be the most interesting aspect of Spring Camp in Ishigaki this year. Typically I’ve enjoyed watching the pitchers the most as their performance is probably closest to what we’ll see from them in a real game. So I suppose I was mostly interested in seeing how our new pitching acquisitions like Wakui and rookie Ishikawa would look, along with seeing the progress of older favorites like Naruse.

But I really wasn’t prepared for the fun in watching our number 5 draftee Seiya “Aja” Inoue in camp. Everywhere I go, I want to know if Aja is around. And it’s not just me, either – you can hear people talking in the stands, walking around: “Where’s Aja?” We gotta know.

To recap, here’s what he’s done so far in a Lotte uniform:

  • Get drafted in the 5th round as the heaviest player in NPB at 110Kg (232lbs), then proceeded to add 5Kg more in the offseason due to tasty New Year’s food.
  • Because of his atypical looks and large size, insists that he looks like female Pro Wrestler Aja Kong, and tells people to “Call me Aja!”
  • Belts an inside-the-park homer (yes, I realize it was a fielding error on Ishimine. Let us have our fun.) in his first intrasquad game, in the rain, plus two other hits. Here’s my video of the first part of the run and a still of his slide. (Sorry for the poor quality.)

  • Slide!  SLIDE!
    Slide! SLIDE!
  • Follows that up in the intrasquad game the next day with a more traditional over-the-fence style homer to left.
  • On Saturday, attends the Ishigaki Island Cow Fights with fellow rookies Ishikawa, Miki, and Yoshida. When the previous Cow Fights champion is brought into the arena, of course Aja is the one to volunteer to ride him. Not only that, when the new champion is crowned, he rides that one as well.
  • On Sunday, in the first official pre-season game of the year versus Orix, Aja drills a single to right in his first AB, to left in his second, and smashes a huge opposite-field liner into a stiff wind that barely misses clearing the fence, instead ending up as a double.

I have no idea what will happen with his rookie year or his future, but I will be shocked if this young man is not a major success. I cannot stop watching him or talking about him. Much, much more to come, I am sure.

Something he will not be asked to do much of this year
Something he will not be asked to do much of this year

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