Go to contents

Yomiuri Trying to Rebound with 2 Sluggers

Posted February. 13, 2007 07:45,   


Can Yomiuri make it to the top with its “OL cannon”?

Yomiuri, the team Lee Seung-yeop plays for, was champion seven times in the 60s, and six times in the 70s. Once one of the best Japanese teams, Yomiuri has failed to rise to the top since becoming Japanese Series Champions in 2002. This would be par for a normal team, but this is worse than ever for Yomiuri. Last season, Yomiuri was fourth in the Central League. This led Yomiuri to bring in Michihiro Ogasawara, 34, a star player who played for last year’s champions, Nippon Ham.

Ogasawara and Lee will be back-to-back sluggers as third and fourth hitters this season. Sports Hochi reported on Monday that these two players trained together for the first time. Yomiuri played a practice match at Sun Marine Stadium on Sunday, but the two players practiced their hitting in a nearby stadium.

The two players are nicknamed “OL cannon,” after the “ON cannon,” composed of Sadaharu Oh and Nagashima Shigeo.

Ogasawara, last year’s Pacific League homerun king, had a .313 batting average, 31 homeruns, and 100 runs batted in. Lee, the seventieth cleanup hitter for Yomiuri, had a .323 batting average, 41 homeruns, and 108 runs batted in.

Lee showed great batting capability. He hit 14 out of 68 batting practice pitches out of the park. Ogasawara swung at 84, but had only one homerun. Ogasawara said that he does not pay much attention to the “OL cannon” nickname. Lee, who had stood beside him, said, “Ogasawara seemed to be working on contact, not power. The two players will play in a practice match on Friday.

Sports Hochi commented that the duo has just started. Competition between the two players will run high.