May 14, 2013

Japanese Born Mets Pitcher: Takashi Kashiwada (1997)

Takashi Kashiwada was born on May 14th 1971 in Tokyo Japan. The five foot eleven left hander, was signed by the Yomiuri Giants in 1990 but spent most of his career there in their minor league system.

In 1997 he arrived with Giants pitcher Koichi Taniguchi in what was described as an educational exchange. Taniguchi never pictched in the major leagues but Kashiwada had his contract purchased by the New York Mets. He was another Japaneese player given a chance by Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

He debuted on May 1st, pitching the 8th inning of relief of Dave Milicki & Barry Manuel in a 7-3 loss to the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. On May 18th he allowed a HR to the Colorado Rockies Andres Galarraga but ended up with his first win in America, when the Mets scored six runs in the 8th inning. He got credit for another win on June 22nd, in an extra inning game at Shea against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That year he got to wear the white Mets cap when they experimented with that ridiculous  looking logo.

In June & July he had his troubles, as his ERA rose near five. He blew two games on the road in Pittsburgh & San Diego before being sent down to the minors in August. He returned in September for four more games.

Kashiwada went 3-1 with three holds, a 4.31 ERA striking out 19 batters walking 18 & serving up four HRs in 35 games for the third place '97 Mets .

He returned to Japan pitching for the Giants the next year. He was used mostly as a left hand hitters specialist pitching there through the 2004 season. He was then hired by the Giants as an international scout.

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