Kazunari Sanematsu (實松 一成)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 178 lb.
- High School Saga Gakuen High School
Kazunari Sanematsu has been a catcher in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Sanematsu hit 39 homers in high school. The Nippon Ham Fighters took him in the first round of the 1998 draft, the first catcher they had ever taken with their first pick. He was 1 for 8 with a walk in his NPB debut in 2000, the hit coming off Kazumi Saitoh on August 6. Almost a year later, he got his first homer, off Junji Hoshino on August 3. He would wind up going deep 6 times that year, 4 of them in one series against the Daiei Hawks; he hit .195/.239/.342 in 62 games, backing up Toshihiro Noguchi. He fell to a miserable .129/.200/.176 with 64 K in 170 AB in 2002 while fielding .989 as Noguchi's backup.
Nippon Ham made Shinji Takahashi the starter in 2003 ans Sanematsu's offensive production actually fell - 9 for 92, 2 doubles, 3 homers, 3 walks and 51 strikeouts. As a third-stringer in 2004, he went 3 for 20 with a double, homer, 3 walks and 11 whiffs. He batted .176/.239/.269 in 119 plate appearances over 64 games in 2005 to end his Nippon Ham career.
The Fighters then dealt him to the Yomiuri Giants with Shigeyuki Furuki for Hideki Okajima. His playing time nearly vanished, backing up star catcher Shinnosuke Abe. He was 1 for 14 with a double and six whiffs in 2006, 0 for 4 in 2007, 1 for 5 in 2008, no games in 2009, 0 for 2 in 2010 and 6 for 22 with 2 homers and 10 strikeouts in 2011. To that point, he had hit only .153/.211/.258 in 673 plate appearances, striking out in 246 of 594 AB. Power had been the one positive, with 15 homers. He hit .189/.302/.312 in 92 plate appearances in 2012, his most playing time in seven years. He then saw increased time in the postseason, with Abe battling injury. In the 2012 Japan Series, he went 2 for 5 as Yomiuri won it all. In the 2012 Asia Series, his 2-run homer off Paul Phillips was the big blow in the finale as the Giants beat the Lamigo Monkeys.
- Japanbaseballdaily by Gary Garland
- Taiwan Baseball Wiki
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