BOSTON Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura said a different diet and maintaining weight were the most difficult challenges he experienced coming from Japan to the United States.
Sawamura signed a two-year, $3-million contract with an option for 2023 with Boston in February after spending 10 seasons pitching in Japan.
I lost weight just a little bit. Because of the difference in diet and everything, it was harder for me to sort of bring back my weight, Sawamura said translator Yutaro Yamaguchi. But right now Im at a good weight.
He said more than just diet caused the weight loss.
When I was in Japan, it was pretty easy for me to maintain my weight, he said. The diet is obviously the difference. So it was pretty easy for me to maintain my weight. But after coming here because of the jet lag and all the changes in environment and everything it was harder for me to maintain my weight.
Buying a rice cooker has helped him.
The white rice is the biggest difference, Sawamura said. I couldnt get the rice cooker for a long time. And after I got that finally, I was really glad I was able to finally eat white rice. And I think just the differences in the daily life, I think time will solve that.
Sawamura earned his first MLB win on Friday. He recorded four big outs in Bostons 6-5 win over the Mariners here at Fenway Park.
The last two games we had lost, we had a losing streak, he said. So I was able to contribute to stopping that losing streak. So that was the biggest thing.
He came to the United States with the reputation of throwing a nasty splitter. But his slider initially looked better than his splitter, which he had difficulty commanding. His splitter has looked much better lately. And he used it to strike out Seattles top hitter, Mitch Haniger, when he inherited two bases runners with two outs Friday.
Im not fully satisfied with the way Im pitching the splitter now, he said. But I think just day-by-day its getting better. I think Im getting the hang of it now. Ive been able to throw my splitter with confidence.
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