Joining Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) and Shota Imanaga (Yokohama DeNA Basestars), who are set to enter the Major Leagues after this season, Nippon Professional Baseball’s “ace” Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Oryx Buffaloes) is ready for the big leagues.

Yamamoto took the mound against the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball 2023 at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan, on Saturday (July 16), throwing 104 pitches in seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts, but was unable to get any offense going.

Yamamoto became the 100th pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history to record a no-hitter, throwing 102 pitches, striking out eight and walking two (one hit, one run) in nine innings against the Chiba Lotte Marines. The no-hitter was made all the more remarkable because it came in front of scouts from 11 major league teams, including New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

He had pitched a no-hitter in his previous outing, so the big question mark was whether he could throw two consecutive no-hitters. After the “165km Monster” Roki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte) threw a perfect game against the Oryx last year, expectations were high as he went for the feat in his next outing with an eight-inning perfect game.

Contrary to expectations, Yamamoto struggled against Rakuten on the day. In the first inning, Yamamoto retired the top of the Rakuten order in order in a triple play to keep his no-hitter alive. However, he gave up a leadoff single to Hideto Asamura in the second inning, breaking his 13-inning no-hitter from the previous two days against the Nippon Ham Fighters. Yamamoto, who was shaken by a walk and a hit batter, got out of the inning unscathed.

The first run came in the third inning. Hiroto Kobukata and Hiroaki Shimauchi gave up singles to start the inning, his second of the day. He then gave up an RBI single to Asamura, who broke the no-hitter, and back-to-back singles to Takero Okajima to make it 1-2.

Yamamoto got through the fourth inning without allowing a run, but gave up another in the fifth on a leadoff single and an error. Still, Yamamoto was up to the task: he got out of a jam with runners on first and second in the sixth, and then took the mound in the seventh to hold the Rakuten bats scoreless to end the day.

Despite the Quality Start+ (7 innings, 3 earned runs or less), Yamamoto was unable to get any support from the offense, and failed to reach 15 wins for the third consecutive year for the first time in the club’s 44-year history since Hisashi Yamada from 1976-1979. He struck out nine batters, walked two and allowed just three runs. In front of more than 20 scouts from nine major league clubs, Yamamoto showed what he can do on a bad day.

Now that Yamamoto has completed his “showcase” for major league clubs with a “no-hitter” in his last outing, it appears that he has made the final preparations for the big leagues. “Yoshinobu Yamamoto has selected Joel Wolfe of the major American agent ‘Washerman’ as his negotiating agent,” Japan’s ‘Sports Hochi’ reported on the 16th. This is the third time Lee Jung-hoo, who is trying to make it to the big leagues through the posting system, has signed a contract with ‘Octagon’ after Scott Boras, who is called the ‘Devil’s Agent’, and Imanaga.

Joel Wolf is one of the most famous agents in the major leagues, and he represents many Japanese players. He is also a good negotiator. Prior to last season, Wolfe negotiated a five-year, $70 million contract for Suzuki and the Cubs, a six-year, $108 million extension for Darvish and San Diego before this season, and a five-year, $75 million contract for Senga and the Mets, who were looking to break into the major leagues.토토사이트

Yamamoto had long been publicly expressing his desire to play in the major leagues. While Orix hasn’t publicly endorsed Yamamoto’s post, it’s likely that they’ll support him, just as they supported Masataka Yoshida’s post last year. With his agent in place, Yamamoto is all set to make it to the major leagues. Now it’s just a matter of finishing the rest of the season strong.

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