Hiro Nakajima is a superstar in Japan and a veteran of 11 years of professional baseball with the Seibu Lions. Yet, he had some jitters as he took the field in front of a mere 6,132 at Maryvale Stadium in the A's Cactus League opener.
"The environment, the ambiance, it was just fantastic and it pumped me up," Nakajima said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi after exiting the game.
The Japanese-born shortstop went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout in his first game of 2013. He didn't have to stay anxious for too long, as he was the second batter in the game and had a ball hit to him in his second play on defense. He reached base in his first plate appearance and cleanly fielded the first ball hit his way.
"Nothing panics him," A's manager Bob Melvin said after the A's 2-1 loss to the Brewers. "It's going to take him some time to learn the opponents and so forth, but he is on the right track."
Nakajima and Jemile Weeks impressed early in the game. Weeks made a diving play to snag a quick grounder, then flipped it over to Nakajima who completed the double play.
Nakajima 'slightly nervous' in A's Cactus League opener
CSN Bay Area | Feb 24