Dodgers Pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto Downplays Concerns About Tipping Pitches


During his initial exhibition appearance, Yoshinobu Yamamoto encountered certain sophisticated techniques commonly employed in the major leagues.

SportsNet LA commentators observed during Yamamoto’s Cactus League debut on February 28th that the center-field camera captured him adjusting his grip before delivering his distinctive split-fingered fastball. 

Despite this revelation, the 25-year-old Japanese pitcher remains composed and unperturbed. He brushed off the possibility of inadvertently signaling his pitches when this issue was raised earlier in the week, showing little concern ahead of his second exhibition start against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday.

Following the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing controversy, baseball authorities implemented stricter regulations regarding the use of in-game video feeds. 

However, teams still have the liberty to analyze pitchers through video footage before and after games. 

Additionally, if a baserunner positioned at second base manages to obtain a clear view of a pitcher’s grip before a pitch, they can relay signals to the batter.

Yamamoto Dominates Against Texas Rangers

SURPRISE, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 28: Yoshinobu Yamamoto #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during a game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on February 28, 2024 in Surprise, Arizona.

In a recent game against the defending World Series champions, the Texas Rangers, Yamamoto demonstrated his prowess on the mound. 

He allowed only one single and recorded three strikeouts over two scoreless innings. 

Notably, he reached speeds of 96 mph with his fastball and skillfully incorporated a mix of soft curveballs, sharp-breaking cut fastballs, and nosediving splitters. 

Impressively, out of the 19 pitches he threw, 16 were delivered as strikes.

Yamamoto’s pitching grip was observable in the footage captured by the center-field camera while he pitched from a windup, a technique he initiates by positioning his pitching hand within his glove at approximately neck level. 

However, it is anticipated to be significantly more challenging to discern Yamamoto’s grip when he pitches from the stretch position.

Yamamoto’s Transition to MLB Stardom

Yamamoto, who secured the largest contract ever granted to a pitcher—a staggering 12-year deal worth $325 million—prior to his inaugural appearance in the big leagues, faces a myriad of challenges as he adapts to a new country, culture, team, and league.

Standing at 5 feet 10 inches and weighing 176 pounds, Yamamoto will confront deeper lineups composed of more formidable hitters than those he encountered in Japan. 

Additionally, he will contend with a more demanding travel schedule and a baseball with less grip compared to what he was accustomed to in Japan.

Given that the season-opening series against the San Diego Padres in Seoul is merely two weeks away, the Dodgers are likely hesitant to overload Yamamoto’s mind with concerns regarding pitch signaling or implement any adjustments to his pitching mechanics that could potentially diminish his performance.

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