GOODYEAR, Arizona – During the bottom of the second inning on Saturday, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama was standing on the top of the dugout and cheering on his teammates.
Then after the inning ended, he picked up his bag and left Goodyear Ballpark with team translator Luke Shinoda. It was an abrupt end of the game for Akiyama, who left the game with a left hamstring injury.
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Akiyama entered spring training hoping to prove that he could improve at the plate against left-handed pitching, and he had that opportunity batting lead-off on Saturday against Oakland Athletics starter Sean Manaea. But at the end of the second inning after he had taken just one at-bat, Akiyama’s day was already done.
He was 0-for-1 with a soft groundout to third base, and Akiyama injured his hamstring sprinting to first base.
"He was upset," Bell said. "When you get hurt, it’s upsetting. But it clearly happened within a very small time frame. He was running full speed on that ground ball in the first inning."
Akiyama showed no signs of a limp as he left the field and wasn’t evaluated during the game. It was another disappointing turn of events in a unique spring for Akiyama.
More than any other position player in camp with the Reds, Akiyama has been impacted by a late start to spring training. In late February, Akiyama left camp to tend to his wife, who had a serious injury in Cincinnati.
Akiyama returned to camp a week later, and he was eager to get back on the field and get as many at-bats as possible before the regular season. Since then, Akiyama is 0-7 at the plate across four games.
On Thursday against the Chicago White Sox, Akiyama started the game as the designated hitter, which gave him the opportunity to focus his attention to his work at the plate. Akiyama returned to center field against the Athletics, but his night ended after the second inning.
"Sometimes with the adrenaline and things like that, you don’t feel it," Bell said. "My guess or my hope is that if that’s when it happened, and he was still able to go out to the field, I’m hoping it’s kind of minor."