- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 215 pounds
- School Hosei University
- High School Oita Oginodai High School
Yuya Ando is a former Olympic pitcher.
Ando went 7-4 in college, battling shoulder problems. He went on to Toyota Motors in the industrial leagues and peaked at 93 mph there, drawing the interest of scouts. In the 2001 Baseball World Cup, he went 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA, allowing 5 hits and fanning 14 in 11 innings. He tied 11 others, including Pedro Luis Lazo and Jose Contreras, for second in the Cup in wins, trailing Chih-Chia Chang. The Hanshin Tigers took Ando in the first round of the draft that year. He tossed 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings in the Bronze Medal game loss to Chang and the Taiwan national team.
Ando made his debut with Hanshin in 2002, going 3-5 with a 3.77 ERA in 17 outings. He was used in 51 contests in 2003, posting a 5-2 record with five saves and a 1.62 ERA. He allowed only 44 hits in 61 innings. He failed to lead the bullpen in ERA despite his impressive numbers as both Jeff Williams and Jerrod Riggan were lower. He did outpace future or former big leaguers Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Keiichi Yabu and Trey Moore. In the 2003 Japan Series, he was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA, losing game one; Hanshin would go on to drop the Series in 7 innings. He battled control problems in the Series, walking six in 4 1/3 innings, unusual for a pitcher with average-to-good control.
Ando pitched for Japan in the 2003 Asian Championship. The Taiwan-based Wiki Baseball site reports that he pitched in the 2003 Baseball World Cup but the IBAF records do not list him as appearing in that tournament.
In 2004, Ando went 5-8 with 5 saves and a 3.58 ERA in 57 games, striking out 72 in 60 1/3 innings. Despite being one of the less effective members of the Hanshin relief corps, he still was chosen for Japan's team for the 2004 Olympics. He was ineffective, allowing 4 hits and walks in 2 innings as the last pitcher in a loss to Australia; Dave Nilsson tagged him for a homer.
Ando moved into the rotation in 2005 and did a fine job, going 11-5 with a 3.39 ERA and fanning 119 while walking 25 in 146 innings. Hanshin did not need him in relief as the Jeff Williams-Kyuji Fujikawa-Tomoyuki Kubota J-F-K bullpen was at its peak. Ando was right in the middle of the strong rotation, behind Naohisa Sugiyama and Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi and ahead of Shinobu Fukuhara and Kei Igawa in terms of ERA. Among qualifiers, he was 5th in the Central League in ERA behind Daisuke Miura, Hiroki Kuroda, Koji Uehara and Ken Kadokura. He dropped game two of the 2005 Japan Series to Shunsuke Watanabe, allowing 7 hits (2 homers) and 6 runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Ando went 10-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 2006 while missing some time due to tonsilitis. He was 5th among Hanshin's top 6 starters in ERA, again having to try to shine among an impressive group. He trailed Fukuhara, Igawa, Sugiyama and Shimoyanagi and was ahead of only a fellow 2004 Olympian, Aussie Chris Oxspring.
Ando battled shoulder injuries for most of 2007, getting into only 8 games; he was 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA. He went 13-9 with a 3.20 ERA in 2008, finishing among the Central League leaders in ERA (7th), wins (3rd behind Americans Seth Greisinger and Colby Lewis) and strikeouts (111, tied with Miura for 7th place).
Primary Source: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland