Osera Rallies From Injury To Relieve Carp

Osera rallies from injury to relieve CarpComing into the 2016 season with high hopes of filling a spot in the Hiroshima Carp starting rotation, right-hander Daichi Osera instead started out on the farm team due to right elbow problems.
It would be summer before Osera was able to pitch effectively again, but the Carp did not need a starter at that point. Instead, he was called upon to become a middle reliever, and he exceeded expectations to help the team clinch its first Central League title in 25 years.

Tentative at first of a recurrence of the elbow pain, the 25-year-old had a remarkable stretch. Appearing as a middle reliever in 16 games from Aug. 14 to Sept. 24, Osera allowed just four runs in 18⅔ innings and compiled a 3-1 record.

“I wanted to be on the first team from the beginning of the season, but I managed to make it eventually,” said Osera, vowing to be in top form for the Climax Series and hopefully the Japan Series as well.

Osera won the Rookie of the Year award in 2014 after going 10-8 as a starter, but was moved to the bullpen for the 2015 season.

Heading into this season, Osera had been expected to fill the hole in the starting rotation after ace Kenta Maeda jumped to the major leagues by signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, he injured his right elbow in February.

Osera got his first call-up to the Carp to pitch against the Chunichi Dragons on July 20, but he gave up four runs in three innings and his pitches topped out at around 140 kph, which was far from his best. He was sent back to the farm team.

Meanwhile, the Carp had been running away with the CL pennant, which they would clinch on Sept. 10. “I was happy,” Osera said, “but also frustrated and impatient as I couldn’t pitch for the team.”

Back on the farm team, Osara continued with long tosses during practice, though at first he was holding back to avoid straining his elbow.

“I was afraid, but I took the plunge and found that nothing but good things happened to me,” he said.

Osera focused on using his entire body to throw hard over distances of 80 to 90 meters, and gradually his ability to throw the ball with power returned. Osera rejoined the CL club as a middle reliever later in the summer to provide help for a heavily used bullpen. He began hitting nearly 150 kph on the speed gun and playing a role in the team’s victories.

While he still holds out hope of one day becoming a starter again, he said, “I’ll do my best to become the best in Japan at any role I am assigned.”