Yoshii extends contract with the Mets
It was learned on Nov. 13 that Yoshii agreed to a 2 year contract for 5 million dollars. It's quite an increase from this year which was 200 thousand dollars. Breaking it down, it's 2 million dollars for 1999 and 3 million for 2000.
Michiyo's Note: Yoshii's contribution to the team in 1998 was certainly given a high mark. Good for him.

Yoshii back in Japan
On Oct. 18, Yoshii landed in Narita Airport. He did not respond at all to questions from the press as he left the airport terminal.
Michiyo's Note: Yoshii's contract with the Mets end this season. For this reason it is speculated that Yoshii is not too optimistic about his future in the U.S. Major Leagues.


29th game, September 19
The Mets took off to a brillliant start-- batting in 2 runs in the 1st and 2nd innings. John Olerud contributed with his bat in both innings. In 6 1/3 innings which Yoshii pitched, he surrendered just 2 runs to the Florida Marlins. Yoshii marked his 6th win in the 4 to 3 game. John Franco earned the save.

28th game, September 14
Yoshii has reportedly replaced Nomo who has lost credibility as the starting pitcher in the rotation. Yoshii's 1st inning was a mess. He lost 4 runs to the Houston Astros. He recovered thereafter and finished 6 inning. It was in the 9th inning that the Mets tied the game with the Astros. In the end, the Mets clinched the game in the 13th inning for a 7 to 4 victory. For Yoshii, it was a no decision game.

27th game, September 7
Yoshii took off to a good start against the Atlanta Braves. After pitching a 1 hit 3 innings, the game was interfered by the rain. It was resumed 1 hr. 48 min. later. Yoshii did not return to pitch. It was, therefore, a no decision game for Yoshii. The Braves took over the lead later in the game, but the Mets eventually won 8 to 7.

26th game, August 30
In the 2nd inning, Jorge Baerga homered. The Mets had another homerunin the 3rd. At that point the Mets were ahead of the L.A. Dodgers 2 to 0. However, in the 5th inning, 2 Dodgers came home off Eric Young's bat. When the Dodgers succeeded in getting on 2nd and 3rd in the 7th inning, Yoshii was taken off the mound. Turk Wendell, who took over from Yoshii allowed both to come home. The result was a 2 to 4 loss for the Mets. Yoshii succumbed to his 8th loss.

25th game, August 24
This time, Yoshii did not perform well. He lost 4 runs in 6 innings. His team was defeated by the Arizona Diamondbacks 5 to 9. Yoshii had to take his 7th loss.

24th game, August 19
D. Hamilton of the Colorado Rockies who was the first to bat, slammed a homer off Yoshii. That was, in fact, the only run Yoshii lost in the game. Yoshii clinched a win--his 5th this season. His ERA improved to 3.74. The last time he won was on May 27, so it's certainly been awhile. He hurled 7 2/3 innings. This victory gave the Mets its 3rd straight win from the Rockies.

23th game, August 12
Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals drove in a run from Yoshii in the 1st inning. McGuire did it again in the 3rd. In all, Yoshii succumbed to 3 runs in 6 innings. The Mets caught up in the 9th inning, so Yoshii did not have to take another loss.

22th game, August 6
Yoshii wore number 21, for the first time in this game against the San Francisco Giants. That was his number when he played for the Yakult Swallows. Yoshii pitched 7 0/3 innings and gave up 4 runs. His team was leading 6 to 2 at that point. However, he was out of luck again. Those who took over could not keep the lead. In the end though, the Mets batted in a game winning run for a 9 to 8 victory.

21th game, July 31
You can say, Yoshii was purely unlucky. He gave up only 1 run in 7 innings. The Mets were leading with 3 runs at that point. But John Franco who took over from Yoshii lost 3 runs in the 9th inning. The final score was 3 to 4 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

20th game, July 25
In the 6th inning, John Olerud homered to break the ice. However, in the bottom of that inning, Jose Hernandez of the Chicago Cubs did too, bringing the game to a 1 to 1 tie. Yoshii appeared to be extremely disappointment when he was back in the bench after that inning. In the 8th the Mets added a run, and Yoshii's hope to win probably was put on fire. However, John Franco who relieved Yoshii gave up a 2 run homer and the Mets lost 3 to 2. Yoshii's record remains unchanged at 4 wins 6 looses.

19th game, July 20
In the 2nd inning, Yoshii gave up a 2 run homer to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thereon until the 7th inning, Yoshii pitched rather well. However, he did not receive enough support from his teammates. The Mets lost 1 to 3, and Yoshii had to take the responsibility for the defeat. It's his 6th loss.

18th game, July 15
The game was opened by one of Japan's top women golf players, Hiromi Kobayashi in New York's Shea Stadium. Kobayashi, however, is a resident of Atlanta. In the first inning against the Atlanta Braves, Yoshii gave up a 2 run homer to Andre Galarraga. Then, Klesco smashed a back to back homerun. In all, Yoshii lost 7 RBIs, and was unable to finish 4 innings. The Mets lost to a whooping 1 to 12, and Yoshii was given his 5th loss.

17th game, July 10
The first game after the All Star break for Yoshii wasn't any better than the previous one. He lost 5 runs in 6 2/3 innings. He, at least was not taken responsible for the Mets' loss of the game to the Montreal Expos which resulted in a 6 to 8 game.

16th game, July 4
Yoshii's pitch smashed into Atlanta Braves' Andre Galarraga's back in the 7th inning. This got the bases loaded with no out. As a consequence, Yoshii was ordered off the mound. In all, Yoshii lost 4 runs in this game, and he took his 4th loss of the season for the 1 to 4 game.

15th game, June 28
A fullhouse was attracted to the game in Shea Stadium where the Mets took on the Yankees. Yoshii's great pitching delighted the fans, no doubt. His only regret was the homerun in the 7th inning. After that inning, he was gone with the game tied 1 to 1. Yoshii recorded 10 strike outs, the most since he's been in the U.S. Major Leagues. As for the result of the game, the Mets finished it with a game winning sacrifice fly.

14th game, June 23
Yoshii got to pitch only 3 1/3 innings. He lost 3 runs in the 2nd inning to the Baltimore Orioles. However, the Mets not only placed in runs in the 5th inning, it reversed the game by defeating the Orioles in the end 6 to 3. So Yoshii was saved from worsening his record.

13th game, June 18
It was an awful game for Yoshii against the Montreal Expos. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and succumbed to 7 runs--his worst showing in the U.S. Major Leagues so far. The Mets lost 6 to 7, and Yoshii faced his 3rd loss.

12th game, June 12
Yoshii lost one run each in the 1st and 2nd innings. In the 3rd inning, the Mets came back with 3 RBIs. Toshii hurled 5 1/3 innings and was off the mound. He, however, lost the chance to win this game when the Florida Marlins caught up with the Mets in the 8th inning. The Marlins, in the end, defeated the Mets 4 to 3. Yoshii remains with 4 wins 2 losses.

11th game, June 7
It was a wet and chilly day in Boston. Yoshii started while his old friend and new teammate Hideo Nomo looked on. In the 3rd inning, Yoshi was in trouble. He lost hits after another to the Boston Red Sox in the Interleague game. Then in the 5th inning, Mo Vaughn homered a single from him. During 5 innings, Yoshii succumbed to 5 runs and he was held responsible for the loss of the 0 to 5 game. Yoshii is with 4 wins 2 losses as of this day.

10th game, June 2
To everyone's surprise, Yoshi did not come back to the pitcher's mound when the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates resumed. The rain had hindered the game from being played for 58 minutes after Yoshi took 2 outs in the 3rd inning. The Mets lead 2 to 1 at that point. The pitcher who relieved Yoshi did not do well. The Mets in the end lost 2 to 5.
Michiyo's Note: Yoshi is super afraid of thunder and lightening. I remember the time when he was with the Yakult Swallows, he'd be so frightened to pitch further because of a thunder.

9th game, May 27
It was Mike Piazza catching Yoshii's pitch, instead of Nomo's. The Mets were behind the Florida Marlins until the 5th inning. In that inning, the Mets batted in a whooping 6 runs. Yoshii hurled the ball at a steady pace thereafter. However, Yoshii did not pitch after the 6th inning. He developed a blister in the right finger that might worsen if he did not stop there. The Mets clinched its 6th straight win in the 8 to 2 game, and Yoshii his 4th victory. His ERA has improved to 2.33

8th game, May 21
Way a go with Yoshii! He went over the distance for the first time in the U.S. Major Leagues. He hurled 133 pitches, struck out 9 and lost 1 run to the Cincinnatti Reds which was a homer. The Mets batted in a total of 6 runs and gave Yoshii his 3rd victory in the U.S.

7th game, May 15
The Mets played in San Francisco against the Giants. Yoshii's control was not so great. He walked 4. However, he lost only 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings. He left the game a 2 to 2 draw. The pitcher after him lost another run. The game resulted in a 3 to 2 loss for the Mets.

6th game, May 7
The only run that the St. Louis Cardinals batted in from Yoshii was a homer by Brian Jordan in the 4th inning. Yoshii himself was the one to slack 2 important runs for the Mets in the bottom of the 5th. His teammates followed suit for a 4 to 1 game. Yoshii pitched 7 innings and secured his 2nd win of the season.

5th game, May 2
Yoshii lost 3 homeruns to the Colorado Rockies. The batters were Vinny Castilla, Larry Walker and Neifi Perez. Yoshii was on for 5 innings. Then in the bottom of that inning, the Mets caught up with the Rockies 3 to 3, so Yoshii got away from marking another loss. The Mets, however, was defeated in the hit, 3 to 7.

4th game, April 25
Recordwise, Yoshii had to take his first loss in the Major Leagues. He didn't do bad though. In 7 innings, he lost only 2 RBIs to the Cincinnatti Reds. His team couldn't hit in runs, therefore the game finished 0 to 2.

3rd game, April 18
In Cincinnatti, Yoshi was homered for the first time in the Major Leagues. It was in the 2nd inning by Eddie Taubensee. Yoshii succumed to another homerun in the 5th inning. He finished 5 innings and lost a total of 4 RBIs. The game thereafter was a close one. It went into 10 innings, and in the end, the Met's won 5 to 4.

2nd game, April 11
The Mets played against the Milwaukee Brewers. Yoshii showed his stuff again. He hurled 6 innings, lost just one batted in run. The Mets kept the game at a tie during the time he pitched, so Yoshii was unable to earn the credit for the team's 2 to 1 victory. Still, Yoshii smiled over his and the team's performance during the post game press conference.

1st game, April 5
Yoshii started for the Mets for the first time at Shea Stadium on a cold day. He pitched 7 scoreless innings. The opposing team, the Pittsburgh Pirates were only able to get 3 base hits from Yoshii. The Mets, in the first inning successfully batted in 3 runs, and in the end won the game 6 to 0. Yoshii clinched his first U.S. Major League victory.
Michiyo's Note: This game was broadcast live in Japan from 2:35 a.m. It was quite difficult to stay awake until the end.

Yoshii declared starting pitcher
Happy news for Yoshii. Mets' manager Bobby Valentine decided that Yoshii will on Apr. 5, pitch against the Pittsburg Pirates. Following this announcement, NHK has scheduled a live coverage of the game. Yoshii arrived in New York with his family on Mar. 30 to rev up for the official Major League games.

A new day for baseball history
It was a dream come true match. Only it was still an exhibition game. On Mar. 4 in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Yoshii started for the Mets, while the opposing pitcher was his former Kintetsu Buffaloes teammate Hideo Nomo. Yoshii even got to bat against Nomo, but he swung out. Pitching wise, Yoshii had a better result. He was lost only 2 base hits, including a homerun, in 3 innings. Nomo lost 3 RBIs in 2 innings. The relevant point of the game was that for the first time in the history of the U.S. Major League, Japanese pitchers faced against eachother. After the game, the two pitchers held a friendly press conference together.

Yoshii's first practice game with the Mets
Yoshii received good marks for the 2 innings he pitched on Feb. 26, in Florida. His pitch has surpised the Mets'lineup, especially his fork ball. It's said that Husky found the ball dropped so sharply, that he cannot even imagine Sadaharu Oh hitting the ball right. Mets manager Bobby Valentine has indicated to the press that Yoshii will pitch against Hideo Nomo of the L.A. Dodgers in an exhibition game on Mar. 4.

Yoshii joins the Mets
Masato Yoshii signed with the New York Mets on Jan.13, 1998 for a one year contract of 600 thousand dollars according to Japanese news reports. He's become the first Japanese to go to the US upon obtaining free agent status. Yoshii is expected to be the Mets starting pitcher. It was later learned that Yoshii's contract has been decreased to 500 thousand dollars. That's because a doctor who examined his right shoulder warned of possibilities that he might wreck it again. Now, according to his former Swallows teammate Jim Tatum who may also join the Mets, the correct salary seems to be 200 thousand US dollars. However, if he plays up to the Mets' expectation, he has the chance to make 800 thousand dollars in performance bonuses. Still, according to Jim, Yoshii is not guaranteed to be on the N.Y. Mets. He needs to win the job.
Michiyo's Note: Yoshii was offered 500 million to 800 million yen for a 3 to 5 year contract from Japanese teams. It shows that he has decided to challenge the US Major Leagues as opposed to pursuing money. I hope to look out for him during the coming season and start a new page featuring Yoshii soon! And thank you Jim for the information!