Kenta Maeda has made a terrific statement following the…..

Kenta Maeda has made a terrific statement following the…..

Kenta Maeda

All eyes on Kenta Maeda as he makes Tigers’ live BP debut

LAKELAND, Fla. — You can hear plenty of Japanese these days in the Detroit Tigers clubhouse and it’s not just pitcher Kenta Maeda, his entourage or the Japanese media.

Tigers catcher Jake Rogers has endeavored to learn one new word every day.

“At this pace, I think the mound visits are going to be in Japanese,” Maeda deadpanned.

It was a joke, but it’s safe to say that Maeda has meshed well with his new club, even if his presence has brought an unexpectedly large contingent of media. No, it’s not quite Ohtani-level, but Maeda is a popular figure in Japan and his first live batting practice session on Wednesday was treated with all the gravity of a playoff game.

Asked if he had grown accustomed to the level of interest, Maeda replied, “I’m thankful. I don’t know if I’m used to it, but I’m just thankful that you guys are surrounding me and asking the questions.”

His debut live BP in Lakeland was fairly uneventful. He prefers to ease into the season, so he didn’t rare back and hit 100 mph, but his 20-pitch outing was effective.

“Not quite 100 percent yet, because it’s so early but I think everything went well,” Maeda said through interpreter Dai Sekizaki.

The only damage came when Javier Baez reached out and bashed a fastball.

“I’m not surprised. Javy’s a great hitter and I really have to be careful about my pitches,” Maeda said. “So I’m not surprised he hit that one. If it was a real game, I wouldn’t throw a fastball there.”

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