SAPPORO – No. 1 draft pick Kotaro Kiyomiya was called up to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ top team Tuesday after starting the season with the Pacific League club’s farm team due to abdominal issues.
The 18-year-old Kiyomiya is set to make his debut as early as Wednesday, when the Fighters play against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles at Sapporo Dome.
“I want to help the team win our games. I’m going to do my absolute best and hope to enjoy playing,” Kiyomiya said.
Manager Hideki Kuriyama made the decision after outfielder Kensuke Kondo was sidelined with a calf injury he sustained on Saturday. The 24-year-old Kondo has a .392 batting average, the highest in the league so far.
Kiyomiya was called up to the top team for the Fighters’ spring training but was hospitalized for two weeks after complaining of abdominal pain in March. He has hit four home runs since returning to action with the farm team on April 10.