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Saburo Omura

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Saburo Omura

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 187 lb.

Saburo Omura has played for the Chiba Lotte Marines for over a decade.

Omura was drafted in the first round by the Chiba Lotte Marines out of high school. He went 9 for 48 with 11 walks in 28 games in 1995 and was caught stealing in 4 of 7 tries. He did not wear his surname on his jersey because there was another outfielder on the club named Omura, Iwao Omura; instead, he wore his first name on the back of his jersey. He continued the practice of Iwao Omura's career ended. He was 0 for 1 with a run in 9 games in 1996.

In 1997, Omura went 5 for 28 with 2 doubles and 2 walks in 37 games for the Marines. He was 0 for 1 in 1998. He hit .231/.308/.300 in 108 games and 130 AB for Chiba Lotte in 1999. Omura hit .270/.355/.384 in 95 games in 2000.

The Okayama native struggled in 2001, when he hit .229/.296/.300 and also was tried in an experiment at second base instead of the outfield. In 2002, Omura produced at a .286/.348/.431 clip with 33 doubles and 13 steals in 14 tries. He was second on the club in steals, behind Kenji Morozumi, and second in doubles to Kazuya Fukuura.

Omura batted .273/.338/.465 in 2003 and was just 4-for-11 in steals; he hit 10 homers in 275 AB. In 2004, he hit .256/.331/.399 as Chiba Lotte's primary right fielder. The next year, Saburo batted .313/.380/.521 and hit 14 homers in 351 AB. He started the season in right field and hitting in the lower third of the order, but moved to center and the cleanup role. He was a somewhat unusual cleanup option for manager Bobby Valentine as Omura was a distant third on the club in homers (behind Seung-yeop Lee and Matt Franco) and 7th in RBI (behind Lee, Franco, Fukuura, Toshiaki Imae, Benny Agbayani and Tomoya Satozaki). He went 4 for 17 in the 2005 Japan Series but his hits were big ones - two doubles and a homer to produce 4 RBI. Chiba Lotte won its first Japan Series ever. Omura was honored with his first Gold Glove award, joining Naoyuki Omura and Tsuyoshi Shinjo in the outfield.

Omura faded drastically in 2006, with a batting line of .218/.295/.395 in 115 games. Rotating between center and right field, he had his third error-free season in the past four campaigns; oddly, the one year he did not field at a 1.000 rate was his Gold Glove season. His 8 sacrifice flies did tie Michihiro Ogasawara for the Pacific League lead.

Omura hit .269/.331/.390 with 28 doubles in a resurgent 2007. He spent much of the year in the cleanup role despite tying for 7th on the team with 7 homers and having the lowest slugging percentage of any of the club's regulars. Due in part to his spot in the batting order, he finished second on the team with 68 RBI, 7 behind slugging catcher Tomoya Satozaki. Omura won his second Gold Glove, joining Hichori Morimoto and Atsunori Inaba in the outfield. Another highlight was on July 6 when his hit was the only thing preventing Yu Darvish from a no-hitter. He was a surprising choice for the Japanese national team for the 2007 Asian Championship. Even more surprisingly, he was the starting left fielder all 3 games. He did well, batting .400/.455/.400 with 3 RBI, including one in the 4-3 win over runner-up South Korea. Thanks to Japan's performance, they won a spot in the 2008 Olympics.

Omura hit .289/.359/.416 in 2008 while again hitting cleanup regularly. His 56 RBI were second on the Marines, well behind leader Shoitsu Omatsu.

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