Japanese sports media reported on the injury of Loki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte) on the 26th and put the headline, ‘Despair this season’.

Sasaki was eliminated from the first team entry on the 25th. News of the injury has come that he will need at least 2 months of rehabilitation due to an oblique muscle injury in his left side. The day before yesterday, on the 24th, against Softbank, he had a good fight with 4 hits, 9 strikeouts and 1 run in 6 innings (93 pitches).

Chiba Lotte coach Masato Yoshii reported on Sasaki’s injury and said, “I had pain after throwing the 90th ball against the last batter after two outs in the sixth inning the previous day. After he was replaced, the pain got worse.” Sasaki finished the inning with a fly ball in the outfield on the 93rd pitch, and was replaced by the bullpen pitcher in the seventh inning.안전놀이터

“It takes two months,” Yoshii said. “It can change what his resilience will be like. He is thought to take 2 months at the earliest and more if the recovery is delayed. (If it is late) If that happens, it will be difficult to return this season.” The Japanese media used the expression ‘despair’.

When Sasaki was in the third year of Ofunato High School, he threw a 163km fastball and was called “the monster of Reiwa.” In the 2019 Nippon Professional Baseball Draft, four teams nominated Sasaki as the first pick, and Chiba Lotte won the nomination right after a lottery.

Chiba Lotte has carefully managed Sasaki from the first year of his debut. delayed his debut by a year. He accompanied the first team for a year to protect his shoulder, correcting his pitching form and only training. In 2020, Sasaki did not pitch a game in either the 1st or 2nd team. Manager Yoshii was closely involved in nurturing Sasaki as pitching coach in 2020 and pitching coordinator in 2021.

Sasaki debuted in the first team in 2021, and was managed by pitches and innings. He threw 11 games (63⅓ innings) in 2021, and last year threw 20 games and 129⅓ innings. Last year, Sasaki achieved the youngest perfect game in Nippon Professional Baseball history, and in the middle of the season, Sasaki took a month off due to a finger blister injury.

Sasaki, who participated in the World Baseball Classic last March, gradually increased the number of pitches this season and developed the stamina to throw up to 120 pitches in June. His most pitches in a game all season was 109 against Hiroshima on June 11th. The last three games in the first half threw 107-106-104 pitches. 

This year, he planned to play a full-time season without an innings limit. However, he suffered an unexpected injury in the first game of the second half. He pitched 85 innings in 13 games, going 7-2 with a 1.48 earned run average and 130 strikeouts. He ranks first in earned run average and strikeouts.

Japanese media ‘Daily Gendai Digital’ said, “Sasaki’s training plan is being delayed. He had to take a break from playing with blisters on his fingers, and this time he was injured again. He can’t experience overcoming the toughest summer season, so he has to step through the season next year as well. His side injury also prevents him from training (during rehabilitation). It’s fortunate that it wasn’t a shoulder or elbow injury. How many years will it take him to become a full-time starter?”

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