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Elephant Rumblings: Angels hitters share takes on Fujinami debut

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

Shintaro Fujinami made the kind of debut we might expect yesterday, flashing high heat but struggling with command at times, particularly in the second inning. Matt Kawahara at the San Francisco Chronicle noted that the former Hanshin Tiger touched 98 mph with his fastball and 92 mph with his splitter. He struck out three, walked an equal number, and worked out of a no outs, bases loaded jam in the second inning to escape with a brief but scoreless appearance.

Kawahara also gathered impressions on Fujinami from opposing Angels batters.

“Throws hard, good heater,” remarked Angels first baseman Jake Lamb. “Worked a little quick out of the stretch.”

Third baseman Luis Rengifo echoed Lamb in saying that Fujinami was “quick to home plate.” He also remarked on the wide variety of breaking pitches employed, apparently more so in the second inning when control problems manifested.

Designated hitter Trey Cabbage had plenty of takes on Fujinami—four, in fact, in the base on balls he drew in as many pitches to load the bases in the second inning.

Center fielder Aaron Whitefield came to bat next and struck out looking on a full count slider to help Fujinami turn things around and induce a double play grounder from the next batter, shortstop Livian Soto to end the second inning.

Whitefield remarked that Fujinami’s slider had a lot of movement, but that the A’s new righty also demonstrated impressive control with the pitch.

And how did Fujinami feel about the appearance?

“Not bad.”

Check out Kawahara’s full story for more impressions from A’s manager Mark Kotsay, pitching coach Scott Emerson, and fellow former Japan Leaguer Shohei Ohtani. And let us know what you thought of Fujinami’s debut in the comments below!

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