GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Right-hander Kenta Maeda enjoyed the more moderate pace of his first American spring training on Saturday.
“Because practice in Japan is exhausting, this is just right,” the former Hiroshima Carp ace said on the first day of workouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitchers and catchers.
“I think this is an environment in which I’ll be able to do the training I want.”
Maeda did not throw a bullpen, spending the largest portion of his time working on his fielding. The five-time Central League Golden Glove winner had little trouble pouncing on soft grounders in front of the mound. Although he played on one of Japan’s few natural-grass infields at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, there is virtually no artificial turf in the majors.
“The fields here are natural grass, and the balls are different as well, so I want to take that into account in my fielding.”
In addition to his glove work, Maeda gave his new teammates a taste of his trademark pre-inning warmup routine when he went to play catch. Although he won’t be able to perform the energetic wind-mill arm rotations on the field before innings in MLB, he will be able to make use of something else he picked up with Hiroshima.
“We had Dominican players on the Carp, and now I’m getting a chance to use my Spanish,” Maeda said.
On Twitter, Puerto Rican pitcher Jose De Leon wrote: “Practicing my Japanese and Kenta working on his Spanish! Not bad for the first day.”