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First Switch Pitcher in Canadian Baseball League History

 Matt Tallarini  |    Apr 22nd, 2024 3:00pm EDT

Rawlings baseballs. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Hamilton Cardinals of the Intercounty Baseball League in Canada signed ambidextrous Japanese pitcher Mizuki Akatsuka for the 2024 regular season, the team reported on April 22.

Once he takes the field during the 2024 season, Mizuki will be the first-ever switch pitcher in Intercounty Baseball League history.

Mizuki, 26, was born in Gifu, Japan, and has played in the independent leagues in the Frontier for two seasons with the New Jersey Jackals in 2022 and the Empire State Greys from 2022-23.  Mizuki also played in the Empire Baseball League with the Japan Islanders from 2022-23.

He played at Rikkyo University in Tokyo before exploring his options to play professionally in the Western Hemisphere.

Last season with the Empire State Greys, Mizuki went 1-3 and posted a 7.76 ERA, throwing 26.2 innings in 13 appearances and four starts. He allowed 38 hits, 23 earned runs, six home runs, 14 walks, 15 strikeouts, and a 1.950 WHIP. He appeared in two games out of the bullpen with the Japan Islanders and went 0-1. He threw nine innings without giving up an earned run, allowing seven hits, four walks, and striking out 10.

“Mizuki gives us flexibility and options that we’re excited to explore. It was a no-brainer to pick up two imported arms for the price of one.” George Halim, Hamilton Cardinals General Manager, stated on the team’s website.

In the 2022 regular season, Mizukui played with the New Jersey Jackals and went 1-0 with four appearances out of the bullpen. He posted a 5.63 ERA, throwing eight innings, allowing 10 hits, five earned runs, one home run, five walks, and 10 strikeouts. He played in five games with the Japan Islanders and started in four, posting a 2.92 ERA with a 4-1 record. He pitched 24.2 innings, allowing 32 hits, eight earned runs, four walks, and 22 strikeouts.

The Hamilton Cardinals will play the Kitchener Panthers on May 16 on the road at Jack Couch Park in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, at 7:30 p.m. EST.