We have successful Japanese pitchers and Japanese outfielders in the major leagues, and successful White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi has neutralized the failure of his fellow Japanese middle infielder, the Mets' Kaz Matsui. The next, most intriguing test could come next season.
Catcher Kenji Johjima of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks has told Japanese reporters that he intends to play in the major leagues next season. He is 29 and played for Japan in the 2004 Olympic Games.
Could the Mets, who will have an obvious opening at catcher, go after him? Could the Yankees pursue him and then slowly phase Jorge Posada, soon to be 34, into a catcher-first base-designated hitter role?
Doesn't sound like it.
"The major issue is language problems at the most important position on the field," a National League official noted.
"Can he play another position?" asked an American League official who shared that concern.
It's believed that Johjima speaks essentially no English. We'll be curious to see whether a big-league club risks a large investment on a catcher who can't speak with his pitchers.
Has anybody else heard anything about this guy. I am starting to get excited that maybe the mets can get a real steal