Dodgers Rumors: Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Trainer Being Hired

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have taken major steps in reinforcing their roster this offseason, including signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the largest contract handed out to a free agent starting pitcher.

The 25-year-old is one of the most accomplished and decorated pitchers in the history of Nippon Professional Baseball. He’s won three consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards, three straight Triple Crown Awards, and capping his 2023 season with his third career Eiji Sawamura Award, the equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young.

Part of what makes Yamamoto so unique is his training style, which was developed by Osamu Yada, the trainer that has been working with and preparing Yamamoto in Japan.

That also caught the eye of the Dodgers, and they are reportedly hiring Yada to come work with the team and continue training Yamamoto, according to former Daily Yomiuri baseball columnist Jim Allen and reported in Japanese by Sponichi Annex:

This is news. The one thing sources have wanted me to tread lightly on is the relationship between Yamamoto and his biomechanical guru Osamu Yada, who has guided Yamamoto’s unique physical training and mechanics.

The Dodgers, Sponichi Annex reports, are going to hire Yada.

— Jim Allen (@JballAllen) December 30, 2023

Because of such an investment in Yamamoto, 12 years, $325 million, the Dodgers taking the extra measure to insure he continues his regular training is paramount. His agent, Joel Wolfe, discussed who Yada is, and what the team recognized this past year which could’ve led them in this direction.

“There is a guru over in Japan, some of the Japanese media know about him, his name is Yada Sensei,” Wolfe said. “Yada Sensei will be coming over here. The Dodgers and Galen Carr, who was mentioned there, spent a lot of time, as did other teams, going to meet Yada Sensei over in Japan. And he does a unique style of training, both on the pitching side and the training side with Yoshinobu. And it’s a combination of breathing and flexibility, and yoga and core training.

“One of the things that the Dodgers noticed, we noticed, was a high percentage of pitchers who pitched in the WBC last year, over 80%, either regressed or sustained injuries over the course of the season. Yoshinobu was not one of them, he actually went the opposite direction and got better.

“He also really benefited from nearly all of the NPB stadiums have TrackMan and Hawkeye located in their stadium, so all of the data of every pitch he threw was sent back here to all the teams. So they had all of the data in addition to all the scouts that were going over there. And they were able to track how elite his stuff was and is, and how it improved. That was a big part of why so many teams were so aggressive in pursuing him.”

Yamamoto raised a lot of eyebrows when it was revealed that he doesn’t life weights, and a major piece in his warm-up routine is the javelin throw. Now that he’s in Los Angeles, Wolfe detailed how he’ll maintain his routine.

“You can do it right here on the field,” Wolfe said. “One of the teams actually that had done a lot of research on him, one of the gifts they gave him was a team-logoed javelin for him to throw to show him just how deep into the research they had done, which he was very impressed with.

“But you will see what he does. It’s impressive, and it worked. And a lot of the work that he does is injury prevention-type stuff. So I think that gave the Dodgers a lot of comfort in giving them such a lengthy contract.”

What Dodgers can learn from Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s training regimen

Yamamoto choosing to sign with the Dodgers was his perfect scenario, because he not only provides an opportunity to win now and in the future, he’s with a team that looks ahead in every area.

Because Yamamoto is such a unique case with how advanced he is and how he’s able to pitch as such a high level given his frame, the Dodgers bringing in Yada can do nothing else but help them. The trickle-down of what he can potentially bring to the rest of their organization is worth exploring.

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