Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Translation: Makita embraces new challenge with Padres, says farewell to Lions

Kazuhisa Makita signed a contract with the San Diego Padres earlier this week. He will make $3.8 million for two years and the Saitama Seibu Lions received $500,000 as a posting fee.

After taking a physical and signing his deal, Makita flew back to Japan and held a press conference on Wednesday in a formal farewell.

Here is what he said:


Opening Statement: 

"I am here to report to you all that I have reached an agreement to have a contract with the San Diego Padres. I had expected to take a long time to have a contract, but I am relieved that I could close a deal without any problems."


On the San Diego Padres: 

"Unfortunately, the Padres are not an exceptionally strong team now, but there are a lot of young talents there, so it's rewarding to play with them."


 On pitching strengths:

"As I played in Japan, submarine pitchers like me are rare in the league. I want to make full use of my advantage."


About the decision to play in MLB:

"The biggest opportunity was when I played in World Baseball Classic. It was there when I picked up confidence to play in MLB."


On why he chose the Padres:

"There are many things that I’m not aware of, so it means alot to me to be able to get support. I thought the Padres offered a good environment. It was a better system to play in without any pressure or concerns."

(Takashi Saito is in the front office and Hideo Nomo works as an adviser for the Padres).


On facing any specific batter in MLB: 

"Kenta Maeda would be nice. He belted a home run in his MLB debut at Petco Park. I have to make sure it doesn't happen again."

(Kenta Maeda was in the opposite league from Makita and didn't see each other much in NPB. They were teammates on Samurai Japan in the 2013 WBC and various exhibitions).


Final message for Lions fans:

"I want to say thank you very much to teammates, staff, and fans. Without their support, I could not have played here for seven years.

"In my seven years here for the Seibu Lions, we could not win a pennant, but I have an impression that I have played for a team as nice as the Lions. As I will play in MLB next season. I cannot say, 'please push the team', but I want some support from the Lions fans as I will do my best there. Thank you for your support in the last seven years to me. I wish we won a pennant."


About goals for the 2018 season:

"First of all, I have a good training regime to play without any injuries for the team the whole season. I will probably be in the bullpen and I want to play about 70 games."


Special thanks to @Yoshi_Tanaka for the translation help. 


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