Roki Sasaki of the Nippon Professional Baseball Chiba Lotte has been hit with an injury. He will be sidelined for about two months with an oblique muscle injury.
Japanese media outlet Yomiuri Shimbun reported on May 25, “Roki Sasaki has been removed from the first team roster due to a left side injury. He was diagnosed with a ‘left medial oblique muscle injury’ at a hospital in Chiba Prefecture.”
According to the media, Lotte manager Yoshii Chiba told reporters before the game, “It will take two months before he can pitch at full strength. If (his recovery) is delayed, it will take longer.”
Sasaki felt discomfort in his side in the sixth inning of his start against SoftBank the previous day, and the pain increased after he took a hard plate.메이저놀이터
Sasaki pitched six innings against SoftBank on April 24, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. After touching 165 mph in April, the fastest ever recorded by a Japanese pitcher, Sasaki touched 160 mph against SoftBank.
In 13 games this season, Sasaki is 7-2 with a 1.48 ERA and 130 strikeouts. He leads the Pacific League in ERA and strikeouts. He is tied for third in wins.
If Sasaki misses more than two months with an oblique injury, he could be irrelevant in the individual title race. Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Oryx), the league leader in wins (9), is second with a 1.74 ERA and third with 103 strikeouts.
Sasaki became the youngest pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history to achieve a perfect record last year, going 9-4 with a 2.02 ERA in 20 games (129⅓ innings).
In March, he represented Japan at the 2023 World Baseball Classic and helped the team win the tournament. Last year, he was on an innings limit, but this year he was a full-time starter before suffering an unexpected injury setback.