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Spring training with the Sea Dogs: Shunsuke Watanabe

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A perfect submariner

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The Red Sox signed 37 year old Shunsuke Watanabe on December 11, 2013. Watching his 2014 spring training submarine pitching display can only be described as breathtaking. Pitch after pitch he defied gravity and baffled hitters as he slung the ball approximately two inches from the ground. Fans may remember Watanabe as the pitcher that allowed David Ortiz to hit a home run almost out of the Tokyo Dome. Watching Watanabe’s knuckles seem to scrape the ground makes the fan wonder how Ortiz connected.

The Japanese baseball is slightly smaller and more tightly wound than the American baseball. American baseball has a slightly larger strike zone that will also be a change for Watanabe. He seems AAA ready right now, but could spend some time at AA Hadlock while he adjusts to American style baseball. Since the rosters have not been set yet, Sea Dogs fans will have to wait to find out if this perfect submariner will make a stop at Hadlock. Watanabe’s pitching is a must see for any baseball fan.

Just around the corner

There was a mini ice age on Hadlock Field in Portland on March 19. The blustery day promised more frozen precipitation and the temperature at departure time was 38 degrees. Two days later, settling on the warm aluminum bleacher seats at the minor league field at Jet Blue Park in Ft. Myers, Florida dispelled any fears of a year without summer. The temperature hit the 82 degree mark.

Spring training allows fans to more easily interact and chat with players. Spring training also allows Sea Dogs fans to get a glimpse of players who will be at AAA and A.

The team will open at Hadlock on April 10. As for the glaciers on the field, the grounds crew at Portland is every bit as good as Watanabe. Remember to bring your glove and I’ll see you at Hadlock.

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