Tazawa’s Velocity Up Five MPH From 2011

While filling out my scorebook last night in the broadcast booth in Louisville, I was listening to the Red Sox game when Junichi Tazawa took the mound for the fifth time since being recalled from Pawtucket.

I heard all three scoreless innings the right-hander pitched and wasn’t shocked when I heard Joe Castiglione say, with surprise in his voice, that Tazawa hit 95 mph on the Fenway radar gun. While we had seen him sit around 91-92 during Aril and May, Tazawa’s fastball climbed to 93-94 while touching 95 in his final outings with the PawSox.

Tazawa missed all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery, then finished 2011 with Boston after beginning the season on the 60-day disabled list. (Kelly O’Connor).

“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what exactly is the reason,” Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur told me from his clubhouse office Monday. “If I were to guess the reason for his increased velocity, I’d have to say it’s a because of his new confidence.”

Last year, Tazawa was throwing between 89-90 mph without giving up many hits. This season however, the righty was throwing 91-92 in the early months, yet was surrendering more hits than when he had less velocity.

“I sat down with him and told him to stop worrying about giving up hits. Just go out there and pitch,” Sauveur said. “Since then, not only has he pitched better, but his velocity has gone up even more.”

As the PawSox pitching coach was quick to point out, it’s important to remember that Tazawa is coming off major surgery (Tommy John) and there’s a certain physical and mental adjustment period that follows.

“It all comes down to Junichi being able to trust his arm more. You can tell that he’s not worried about anything else now when he’s out there.”



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