Dodgers Spring Training: Yoshinobu Yamamoto Adjusting To Different Baseball In MLB

Among the Los Angeles Dodgers’ splashes during the offseason was the signing of Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year, $350 million contract, which is the largest deal for a pitcher in MLB history.

The right-hander is one of the most accomplished arms to make the jump to the Majors as he finished his Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) career with three consecutive Eiji Sawamura and Pacific League MVP Awards.

While Yamamoto projects to be an ace with the Dodgers, there will be somewhat of a learning curve as he is going to pitch every five or six days as opposed to his previous schedule of once per week in Japan.

Yamamoto will also be adjusting to new baseballs and has already noticed some of the differences, via Dylan Hernández of the L.A. Times:

“I can somewhat feel the difference,” Yamamoto said. “But the rosin is also different than it is in Japan and works well with the balls here.”

Yamamoto said he encountered trouble throwing his splitter on Sunday in his second bullpen session of the spring, but added, “I think I’ll adjust quickly.”

The baseballs in MLB are slightly bigger and slicker than the ones used in NPB. While Yamamoto had difficulties throwing his splitter in his most recent bullpen session, he will have plenty of time to work out the kinks before Opening Day.

Yamamoto’s splitter is considered his best pitch. It is part of a four-pitch mix that includes a high-90s fastball, curveball and cutter.

Yamamoto went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 games for the Orix Buffaloes last year.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto making Dodgers debut in Seoul Series

A recent report suggested that the Dodgers are planning to start Yamamoto in one of their two games against the San Diego Padres in South Korea.

The 25-year-old will likely be limited to a certain inning or pitch threshold as the team intends to piggyback their starters in the Seoul Series.

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