March 21, 2007

Key Performance for Kei

This is only Spring Training, I know, but look at my previous predictions and note that I already believe in Kei Igawa. Putting up five shut-out innings against the Phillies in last night's exhibition game, he looked a bit shaky (he looks to be still trying to figure out the strike zone), but Kei was confident.

Why shouldn't he be? With Ron Guidry patrolling the dugout, looking at his mechanics, his control, and his delivery, Kei has one of the best pitching coaches to take the young, successful pitcher from Japan, and mold him into a suitable number five starter for the most popular and successful sports franchise in history. Not too tall of an order, don't ya think?

At this point is Spring Training, the regular players are all but ready. The clubs are assessing their own minor league talent, making cuts and filling roster spots. But pitchers need more time than position players to prepare for the regular season. Igawa is using him time wisely, heeding the advice given him by Guidry through his interpreter, and making adjustments. Even between innings he can be seen with the Gator, nodding and listening, and going back to the mound to record outs.

The strike zone may be tricky for him, but it is not elusive. On the radar screen for young Igawa is an inaugural season with the Yankees which may begin with a couple of nervous starts, but ultimately will become a wise investment for the team, and the beginning a fine career for Igawa.

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