3/14 Takahashi’s fastball? He says ‘100’
Hisanori Takahashi will make his second spring start on Saturday for the Cubs but it’s not an audition for a spot in the rotation. The Japanese left-hander is hoping to secure a place in the bullpen.
“That’s what I’m aiming for and that’s why I’m on the mound,” said Takahashi through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “I think I do have an opportunity to make the team. I think I need to show what I’m good at and prove to the staff that I have a spot on the team and I think my command, showing my pitches will be my sales point.”
Takahashi, 37, isn’t going to overwhelm hitters. Asked the velocity of his fastball, he smiled.
“One hundred [mph],” he said, in English.
He’s kidding. Takahashi has pitched for the Mets, Angels and Pirates, appearing in 51 games last season combined, and posting a 5.54 ERA.
“There’s a lot of pitchers in Japan who are like [Greg] Maddux or [Jamie] Moyer, and I fit in that type of pitching,” he said. “There’s a pitcher in Japan named Masa Yamamoto, and he’s 47 now, but he’s still a current player in Japan.”
Yamamoto is left-handed, which helps his longevity.
On Friday, the Cubs will play an exhibition game against Team Japan at HoHoKam Stadium. Takahashi was asked for scouting report.
“They’re definitely a good team and detail oriented,” he said. “They’re good at doing the little things.”
Maybe they’re a little jet-lagged? The Japan team arrived Tuesday night and played the Giants Thursday.
“That’s an area to attack for the Cubs, probably,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat