Hirokazu Sawamura

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Hirokazu Sawamura
Giants sawamu15.JPG
Sawamura with the Yomiuri Giants in 2016
Chiba Lotte Marines – No. 54
Born: (1988-04-03) April 3, 1988 (age 34)
Tochigi, Japan
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Professional debut
NPB: April 15, 2011, for the Yomiuri Giants
MLB: April 2, 2021, for the Boston Red Sox
NPB statistics
(through 2020 season)
Win–loss record48–52
Earned run average2.77
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Win–loss record6–2
Earned run average3.39
Career highlights and awards
Men's baseball
Representing  Japan
2015 WBSC Premier12
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Tokyo Team
Last updated on: September 11, 2020

Hirokazu Sawamura (澤村 拓一, Sawamura Hirokazu, born April 3, 1988) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He previously played in NPB for the Yomiuri Giants and the Marines, and has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Boston Red Sox. Listed at 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m) and 212 pounds (96 kg), he throws and bats right-handed.[1]

Baseball career[edit]

Sawamura played college baseball for Chuo University in Tokyo.[2] On October 28, 2010, Sawamura was drafted by the Yomiuri Giants first overall pick in the 2010 Nippon Professional Baseball draft.[3]

Yomiuri Giants[edit]

Sawamura with the Yomiuri Giants in 2012

Sawamura played nine seasons for the Yomiuri Giants during 2011–2020;[4] he missed the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury.[5] In 2011, he was named the Central League Rookie of the Year.[6] In 2013, he was named MVP of the first game of the NPB All-Star Series.[7] During his first four seasons with the Giants, he was predominantly a starting pitcher; after 2014, he only appeared for the Giants as a relief pitcher.[1] As a closer during 2015 and 2016, he recorded 36 and 37 saves, respectively.[4] During his nine seasons with the Giants, he compiled a 48–50 win–loss record with 74 saves.[4]

Sawamura played for the Giants in three Japan Series, the annual championship series of NPB. He was the starting and winning pitcher of Game 2 in 2012,[8] which the Giants went on to win in six games over the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. He pitched as a reliever in 2013,[9] when the Giants lost in seven games to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and in 2019,[10] when the Giants lost in four games to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Chiba Lotte Marines[edit]

On September 8, 2020, Sawamura was traded to the Chiba Lotte Marines.[11] With the Marines in 2020, he appeared in 22 games, pitching to an 0–2 record with one save and a 1.71 earned run average (ERA) while striking out 29 batters in 21 innings pitched.[4] After the season, Sawamura became a free agent.[12]

Boston Red Sox[edit]

On February 16, 2021, Sawamura officially signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB).[13] He made his MLB debut on April 2, pitching in relief against the Baltimore Orioles.[14] He earned his first MLB win on April 23, after pitching 1+13 innings of scoreless relief against the Seattle Mariners.[15] Sawamura was placed on the injured list on July 23 due to right triceps inflammation;[16] he returned to the Red Sox on July 30.[17] He was placed on the COVID-related list on August 31,[18][19] and returned to the team on September 13.[20] Overall during the regular season, Sawamura made 55 relief appearances for Boston, compiling a 5–1 record with 3.06 ERA while striking out 61 batters in 53 innings.[21] He made three postseason relief appearances, all in the American League Championship Series, allowing a single run in two innings pitched.[21]

Sawamura began the 2022 season as a member of the Red Sox bullpen. After posting a 3.60 ERA in 18 relief appearances, he was optioned to the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox on May 28,[22] but recalled to Boston two days later.[23] On August 29, Sawamura was designated for assignment,[24] then sent outright to Triple-A two days later.[25] On September 11, Sawamura was released by the Red Sox.[26] Overall during 49 relief appearances with the Red Sox during 2022, Sawamura compiled a 1–1 record with a 3.73 ERA while striking out 40 batters in 50+23 innings.[21]

Chiba Lotte Marines (second stint)[edit]

On January 28, 2023, Sawamura signed with Chiba Lotte.[27][28]

International career[edit]

Sawamura was selected to the Japan national baseball team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.[29] He also pitched for Japan in the 2015 WBSC Premier12 tournament.[30]

Scouting report[edit]

Sawamura throws a fastball topping out at 99 mph (159 km/h),[31] a splitter, and a slider.[32] In college, he also featured a curveball.[2]


Sawamura gained attention from NBC Sports for singing a rendition of an Alicia Keys song that Eduardo Rodríguez posted on his Instagram account.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hirokazu Sawamura Japanese Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Ota, Kozo (October 26, 2010). "2010 NPB Draft Preview: Players to Watch". tokyoswallows.com. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  3. ^ "Sports Nippon baseball news 巨人・沢村再び 単独1位指名に大粒の涙". Sports Nippon (in Japanese). October 29, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "Sawamura, Hirokazu". NPB.jp. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Yomiuri Giants apologize to Hirokazu Sawamura". yakyudb.com. September 11, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Gibson, John E. (1 December 2011). "Sawamura, Makita top rookies". yomiuri.co.jp. The Daily Yomiuri. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011 – via Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Otani puts talent on display in All-Star opener". The Japan Times. July 19, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Sunday, October 28, 2012". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "Sunday, October 27, 2013". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  10. ^ "Saturday, October 19, 2019". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Baarda, Ted (14 December 2020). "Need a reliever? A couple from the NPB might work". sportsinfosolutionsblog.com. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Baseball: Free agent reliever Sawamura in U.S. for talks". kiji.is. Kyodo News. February 5, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  13. ^ "Boston Red Sox sign right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura to two-year contract with option for 2023". ESPN.com. AP. February 16, 2021.
  14. ^ "Orioles vs. Red Sox". ESPN.com. April 2, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  15. ^ "Mariners vs. Red Sox". ESPN.com. April 23, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  16. ^ Cotillo, Chris (July 23, 2021). "Boston Red Sox roster moves: Hirokazu Sawamura (tricep) placed on injured list, Phillips Valdez called up from WooSox". MassLive.com. Retrieved July 23, 2021 – via MSN.com.
  17. ^ "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". MLB.com. Boston Red Sox. July 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  18. ^ "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". MLB.com. Boston Red Sox. August 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  19. ^ Snyder, Matt (August 31, 2021). "Red Sox pull Xander Bogaerts from game after positive COVID test as club's outbreak grows". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  20. ^ "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". MLB.com. Boston Red Sox. September 2021. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c "Hirokazu Sawamura Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  22. ^ Smith, Christopher (May 28, 2022). "Boston Red Sox make 5 roster moves: Hirokazu Sawamura optioned to Worcester, Hansel Robles placed on IL". masslive.com. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  23. ^ Cotillo, Chris (May 30, 2022). "Boston Red Sox roster moves: Matt Strahm placed on COVID list, Hirokazu Sawamura up from WooSox". masslive.com. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  24. ^ McDonald, Darragh (August 29, 2022). "Red Sox Designate Hirokazu Sawamura, Austin Davis; Select Zack Kelly". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  25. ^ @ChrisCotillo (August 31, 2022). "Sawamura is outrighted to AAA, so he remains with the Red Sox but not on the 40-man roster" (Tweet). Retrieved August 31, 2022 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Smith, Christopher (September 12, 2022). "Boston Red Sox release Hirokazu Sawamura after he pitched just once for WooSox following DFA". masslive.com. Retrieved November 11, 2022 – via MSN.com.
  27. ^ "Hirokazu Sawamura Returns to Japan". rotoballer.com. January 28, 2023. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  28. ^ Henrique, Chris (January 28, 2023). "Former Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura finds a new home for 2023". Beyond the Monster. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  29. ^ "2013 World Baseball Classic". npb.or.jp (in Japanese). 20 February 2013.
  30. ^ "Teams & rosters: JPN". premier12.wbsc.org. 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Tomase: Shades of former Sox All-Star in potential bullpen signing?".
  32. ^ Franco, Anthony (February 10, 2021). "Red Sox Making Progress On Deal With Hirokazu Sawamura". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  33. ^ Leger, Justin (June 29, 2021). "Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura singing Alicia Keys will make your day". NBC Sports. Retrieved July 8, 2021.

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