NPB: Roki Sasaki Out For Two Months With Oblique Injury

Roki Sasaki of Team Japan pitches during the 2023 World Baseball Classic Semifinal game against Team Mexico at loanDepot Park on March 20, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Starting pitcher Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Nippon Professional Baseball landed on the injured list with a left oblique muscle tear that will force him to miss two months and possibly the remainder of the 2023 season. 

Sasaki is among one of the top players in Japan that has a lot of Major League Baseball scouts  keeping a close eye on during the next few seasons. 

Sasaki will be eligible to be posted, enabling Major League Baseball teams to bid on his services, before the 2027 season, when he will turn 25 years old and will have finished six seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball. 

During Sasaki’s NPB career, he has played in 44 games with a 19-8 record, throwing 277.2 innings and allowing 176 hits, 13 home runs, 54 walks, and 371 strikeouts with a 1.91 ERA. 

Sasaki has thrown two complete games in his career, one being a perfect game on April 10, 2022 against the 2022 Japan Series Champions Orix Buffaloes where he faced 27 batters, striking out 19. In the same outing, Sasaki struck out 13 consecutive batters as well, setting an NPB record for consecutive strikeouts. 

He then threw eight perfect innings in his next start on April 17, 2022, striking out 14 batters on his way to retiring 52 consecutive batters, setting a league record. 

Last season, Saski went 9-4 in 20 starts, facing 490 batters and throwing 129.1 innings, allowing 80 hits, seven home runs, 23 walks, and striking out 173 while recording a 2.02 ERA. 

During the World Baseball Classic in March, Sasaki helped Japan win their third WBC championship, beating the United States 3-2 in Miami at loanDepot Park. Sasaki started in two games, going 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA and throwing 7.2 innings, allowing seven hits, three earned runs, one home run, walking two, and striking out 11 while recording a 1.17 WHIP. 

Sasaki is 7-2 in his third NPB season with a 1.48 ERA in 13 starts, throwing 85 innings and allowing 45 hits, one home run, 15 walks, and leads all of NPB with striking out 130 batters and a 0.706 WHIP. He was selected to his second all-star game in his career. 

Sasaki started on Monday against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks throwing six innings allowing four hits, one earned run, walking one batter, and nine strikeouts with a no decision in the Marines’s 2-1 win. 

The Marines, in second place in the Pacific League at 45-33-4, are three games back of the first-place Orix Buffaloes, who are 51-33-2. Chiba Lotte will have to rely on Kauya Ojima, Cristopher Mercedes, Atsuki Taneichi, and Yuji Nishino to keep the Marines afloat during Sasaki’s absence. 

The Marines will play their second game of their three-game road series against Seibu Lions (37-48-1), who are currently in fifth place in the Pacific League at the Belluna Dome in Saitama, Japan, on Wednesday at 5 a.m. EDT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »