Okinawan player named season’s starting pitcher of Giants

Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, one of the most storied professional baseball teams in the Japanese leagues, has named Okinawan Ryosuke Miyaguni its starting pitcher this season.

Miyaguni announced the news by himself to a gathered audience of Giants’ fans in Tokyo, Monday. Miyaguni said later that Giants’ Manager Tatsunori Hara had actually asked him to announce the news himself, which he then did in front of the big audience.

Miyaguni is from Itoman City where he played in the Itoman High School baseball team before being scouted for the Giants. This season is his third to play for the Giants, one of the most popular teams in Japan.

He will take up such a big role at just 20 years and 11 months of age, the second youngest on record in the team’s history since 1950 when the two-league system in Japanese baseball started. The youngest pitcher to start for the Giants is Masumi Kuwata, who was a really popular player in Japan, and who also played for Pittsburgh Pirates in the Majors in the US.

Miyaguni piled up six wins last season, and his earned-run average in pre-season matches for 2013 was the No.1 in both leagues. Some say that there might another reason, too, and that is that the Giant’s ace pitcher Tetsuya Utsumi joined the World Baseball Classics that was held in March.