Takahiro Suzuki (鈴木 尚広)
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 150 lb.
- High School Soma High School
Takahiro Suzuki is an outfielder who has been primarily a defensive substitute or pinch-runner in his first six seasons. He has stolen 115 bases through 2008.
Suzuki was a 4th-round draft pick of the Yomiuri Giants in 1997 out of high school. He debuted with the Giants in 2002 and went 2 for 8 with 6 runs and 4 steals in 8 tries over 30 games. He played 11 games in the field, being used mostly as a pinch-runner. In 2003, the 25-year-old hit .225/.240/.320 in 200 AB over 104 games and was 18-for-19 in base stealing. He saw regular action at second base in addition to center field and led Yomiuri in steals.
Suzuki had 59 plate appearances in 57 games in 2004, batting .273/.310/.327 and swiping 9 bases in 10 attempts. In 2005, Suzuki played just 27 games but got 99 AB and hit .303/.324/.404 while stealing 11 times in 14 tries. He took over the center field job from Tuffy Rhodes late in the campaign.
In 2006, the switch-hitter batted .241/.276/.286 in 89 games and stole 25 bases in 29 tries. Yoshinobu Takahashi had begun the season as Yomiuri's main center fielder but moved more to right and left later in the year so Suzuki could man the middle. He was 4th in the Central League in steals, trailing Norichika Aoki, Norihiro Akahoshi and Masahiro Araki.
Suzuki played 96 games in 2007 but only had 111 AB. He hit .297/.347/.360 and stole 18 bases in 22 tries to finish 6th in the CL in stolen bases. In 2008, Takahiro had 247 AB in 105 games, taking advantage of injuries to Yoshinobu Takahashi to play a bit more frequently. He stole 30 bases while only getting caught five times, finishing 5th in the league in swipes. He hit .304/.354/.409. When Takahashi missed the 2008 Japan Series due to injury, Suzuki got the starting nod in center. Despite his part-time role that year, he won a Gold Glove, joining Akahoshi and Aoki in the outfield.