NPB: SoftBank Hawks Reliever Livan Moinelo Will Miss Remainder of Season With Elbow Injury

Livan Moinelo of Team Cuba pitches in the bottom of the 8th inning during the World Baseball Classic exhibition game between Cuba and Rakuten Monkeys at Douliu Baseball Stadium on March 05, 2023 in Douliu, Taiwan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

Relief pitcher Livan Moinelo of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks has arthritis in his pitching elbow and will undergo surgery, forcing him to miss the remainder of the Nippon Professional Baseball season. It has not been reported what specific type of surgery the left-hander will undergo as of yet. 

According to CubanBaseballDigest.Com, doctors in Sendai, Japan, determined he had arthritis in his pitching elbow a few weeks ago. Moinelo’s decision to move forward with the surgery was first reported by PelotaCubanaUSA.Com, which covers Cuban baseball players’ performances in professional leagues around the world. 

Moinelo was having a stellar season out of the bullpen for the Hawks up until his injury. He allowed three earned runs in 27.2 innings, good for a 0.98 ERA. Moinelo had 37 strikeouts and only five walks allowed. In his seven seasons with the Hawks, Moinelo owns a 1.95 ERA in 300.1 innings. He is a one-time NPB All-Star in 2022 and a four-time Japan Series Champion, most recently in 2020 when the Hawks defeated the Yomiuri Giants four games to none. 

Moinelo was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, and played for the Cuban national baseball team in the 2015 Pan American Games, 2015 Premier 12, and the World Baseball Classic in 2017 and 2023. He began his career in Serie Nacional de Béisbol, splitting five years with Vegueros de Pinar del Rio and Sabuesos de Holguín. Moinelo recorded a 2.64 ERA in five professional seasons in Serie Nacional de Beisbol. 

Moinelo made his Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks debut in 2017 after signing a 20 million dollar yen contract with the team. Since he made his NPB debut on June 27, 2017, the lefty has recorded 40 saves and has a win-loss record of 19-9 in seven years out of the bullpen. 

Moinelo’s injury should apply even more pressure on former MLB closing pitcher Roberto Osuna out of the bullpen for the Hawks. Osuna has a 0.33 ERA and 16 saves as the closer of the team this season. 

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are currently 43-37 and 5.5 games back of the first-place Orix Buffaloes in the Pacific League. Their next game will be on Saturday, July 22 against the Chiba Lotte Marines at 5 a.m. ET.

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