Yusei Kikuchi felt the nerves Monday that would normally accompany taking the mound in front of tens of thousands of fans in a major ballpark, not the few thousand who showed up for a spring training game in the desert.
“I’ve been pitching in Japan for the last nine years and I wanted to test what I was doing in Japan against major league hitters and I wanted to see how they reacted,” Kikuchi said through an interpreter. “So I was really kind of excited and also nervous about that.”buy nike nfl jerseys cheap
Kikuchi made his debut for the Seattle Mariners throwing two innings against the Cincinnati Reds in a start that featured a little bit of everything, from moments of dominance, to his defense letting him down, to Kikuchi working out of a jam.
It was a lot for a two-inning debut, but the Mariners were pleased with what they saw.
Kikuchi’s most notable at-bat was his lone strikeout, when he tied up Joey Votto on a deceptive 2-2 curveball that left the veteran slugger waving unsuccessfully. While Kikuchi has a fastball in the mid-90s, his breaking pitches and ability to hide the ball in his windup add to the challenges of facing the lefty.
“It’s spring training and I’m sure he’s tuning up his swing as well but to strike out someone the caliber of Joey Votto, a hitter of that caliber, I’m really happy about the result of today,” Kikuchi said.nike nfl jerseys cheap china
The rest of the outing forced Kikuchi to do a little bit of everything. He had to scamper off the mound to cover first base on a groundout by Yasiel Puig. And he faced the challenge of traffic on the bases after a rough second inning that featured a leadoff walk, two errors and giving up two runs — although both were unearned.