After a false alarm last week, Chris Seddon is finally ready to begin his career in Japan.
Weather was the issue the last time the Yomiuri Giants left-hander was scheduled to take the mound, with rain washing away what was to be his NPB debut against the Yokohama BayStars in Yokohama. He’ll give it another go Wednesday, and with the Tokyo Dome roof to shield him from the elements it’s all systems go for the Los Angeles native.
“Definitely happy to get into the season and start putting up some numbers and trying to help this team win.” Seddon said Tuesday at the Big Egg. “They love winning here, and it’s nice.”
Instead of facing the BayStars, Seddon’s first NPB opponent will be the Hiroshima Carp, who will be sending their top draft pick, Daichi Osera, to the mound. The Carp snapped their long postseason drought last season and have opened 2014 by winning their first three series of the year for the third time in franchise history.
“It’s one of those teams where you’re going to have to get ahead of them and make them put the ball in play,” Seddon said. “Because if you’re behind in the count, if you’re letting guys on base, they’re going to hurt you. You have to attack them.”
The 30-year-old Seddon joined the Giants on a one-year deal over the offseason after finishing 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 187 1/3 innings for the SK Wyverns in the Korean Baseball Organization last season. He’s also had stints with the then-Florida Marlins (2007), Seattle Mariners (2010) and Cleveland Indians (2012) during his career.
Seddon admits to feeling a few butterflies ahead of Wednesday’s start, but stressed it was nothing he hasn’t dealt with before.
“It’s all (season debut) jitters,” he said. “You have them in the minor leagues, you have them in the big leagues. I had them last year. I’m hoping that it’s something I’ve done long enough that it’s where I can realize what’s going on and deal with it and then move on and get into the game.”
Pitching in Japan will be a new experience, but Seddon’s year in South Korea gives him a slight leg-up on most first-time foreign hurlers in terms of dealing with an atmosphere that’s different than in the U.S.
“I actually wasn’t used to the crowds cheering as much as they do there,” he said of his first start in Korea. “So I’m hoping that will help me tomorrow, just being used to that, because it’s very similar. The crowd (in Korea), it felt like they were into every pitch from the very start, and that kind of had me amped up a little bit more. So hopefully I can deal with that tomorrow and kind of back off.”
Seddon was supposed to have gotten his debut out of the way April 3. He arrived at Yokohama Stadium ready to pitch and went through his normal routine until the game was canceled due to rain.
“No matter what, whatever the weather is, I have to tell myself mentally that we’re playing a game,” Seddon said. “Up until the manager comes out and tells me we’re not playing, in my mind, the game is on.
“When they called it, we went over and they told me when I was going to throw again and from there I just had to adjust and figure out what I’m going to work on, that kind of stuff.”
Seddon tried to mirror the routine he used between outings in the U.S. to keep himself ready and threw a brief bullpen session on Wednesday. Now he’s just ready to finally get going.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said, “getting out there, getting in a game, and seeing what it’s all about.”