Dodgers News: Yoshinobu Yamamoto ‘Made Adjustments’ Heading Into MLB Debut

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history during the offseason and carries enormous expectations entering his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The right-hander is navigating the changes that come with making the jump to the Majors, including a new pitching schedule and slightly different baseball from the one used in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

After an impressive Cactus League debut, Yamamoto struggled over his final two Spring Training starts. He finished 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in 9.2 innings of work. Yamamoto allowed 15 hits and issued four walks but did strike out 14 batters.

“I do feel the numbers weren’t good. But other than that, during Spring Training there were a lot of things I got to try and I made adjustments, so I’m not really concerned about the numbers at this point,” he said through interpreter Yoshihiro Sonoda.

Yamamoto continued experimenting in his final Spring Training start and appeared to change his hand position while pitching out of the windup. Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior had largely downplayed concern with Yamamoto potentially tipping pitches, but it appears to have been on the organization’s radar.

“I was trying a couple different things in terms of hand position but at this point I did everything I could. I did enough adjustments going into the season,” Yamamoto explained.

Yamamoto is now set to make his official Dodgers debut in the Seoul Series finale against the San Diego Padres on Thursday.

“I do feel a lot of excitement but also some nerves. I’m having mixed emotions right now but what I have to do is focus to lead the team to victory,” he said.

Dave Roberts expects Yoshinobu Yamamoto to improve

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is not concerned about Yamamoto’s performance in Spring Training and believes he will find a new gear during the regular season.

“They weren’t the first outing that we saw,” Roberts said of Yamamoto’s final two Cactus League starts.

“The first innings had been great, balls out over the plate, I think there were some uncharacteristic walks in there. I don’t see the walk in play this year. I do think there’s going to be some contact but a punchout when needed, so I’m not making too much of those outings.

“I still think that once the bell rings, there’s a heightened focus. I think getting him built up, keeping him healthy as he opened the season was the biggest win, and we’ll go from there.”

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