Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Swallows' Ogawa begins preparations for season


Tokyo Yakult Swallows hurler Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa, the Central League’s 2013 Rookie of the Year, kick-started training for the upcoming season with some sprints and a game of catch on Saturday.

Ogawa, who went 16-4 to lead the CL in wins, paid a visit to the seashore where he used to train as a youngster during his junior high schooldays.

“It’s back to basics. The first year ended with the first year,” said Ogawa. “Thinking of this as a fresh start, I want to work hard and fight to contribute to the team.”

The 23-year-old, who fashions his pitching style after Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, has set goals of pitching 200 innings and posting an earned run average below 2.00.

He is hoping such efforts will help the Swallows improve from last season when they finished in last place.

“If I can come close (to these targets), I think I can contribute more to the team than I did last year,” said Ogawa, adding that he hopes to post the most wins again in 2014.