Japanese pitchers struggling to come to grips with WBC ball
February 05, 2013
During spring training camp, Japanese pitchers are getting their hands for the first time on the ball they'll be using at the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic and are giving it mixed reviews.
All 12 of Japan's professional clubs use the official ball made in Japan during the season, but during the WBC, players have to adjust to a ball that was made by a U.S. company and has a different feel.
The WBC balls feel more roughly made and vary in terms of seam position and even the width between the seams.
The leather feels dry, and many pitchers said the WBC ball slips from their hands.
Seibu Lions’ pitcher Kazuhisa Makita is trying to get adjusted to the balls in an effort to be selected as a national team member for the first time. He was given the balls at the end of last year and used them during voluntary off-season training sessions.
On the other hand, pitchers who have played in the WBC said they do not care about the differences in the balls.
Along with getting accustomed to the new ball, pitchers are noticing that their pitches are breaking more.
Another problem is that Japanese pitchers have been given only a small number of the WBC balls to work with.
The rosin bag, a small bag full of white powder that pitchers spread on their hands to keep them dry and improve their grip on the ball, is also different. The rosin bags used in Japanese professional leagues release powder but the rosin used in the WBC feels sticky, players said.
(Read full story on The Asahi Shimbun)