Yoshiyuki Ishihara (石原 慶幸)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 181 lb.
Yoshiyuki Ishihara has been the primary catcher for the Hiroshima Carp for several seasons.
Ishihara hit 60 home runs in high school. He was drafted in the 2nd round in 2001 by the Hiroshima Carp. He debuted for the club in 2002, going 3 for 10; his first career hit came off Hirotoshi Ishii. He replaced Kazuyoshi Kimura as Hiroshima's primary backstop in 2003; the 23-year-old hit .213/.268/.311. He hit his first career home run on April 27 against Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi. Ishihara improved to .288/.336/.389 in 2004.
Ishihara injured his hand in spring training in 2005 and was limited to 74 games, hitting .241/.298/.310. He split catching duties with Yoshikazu Kura in 2006, producing at a .221/.276/.296 clip. He hit into four double plays in 6 at-bats with the bases loaded. On September 7, his 27th birthday, he was involved in a very rare play. With the bases loaded of a 5-5 game, he committed catcher's interference to cost Hiroshima the game. Sources differ on whether this was the first time such a play happened in Nippon Pro Baseball history or whether it had been 31 years since the prior walk-off catcher's interference.
In 2007, Ishihara and Kura again split the catcher's job. He batted .281/.338/.363 in 89 games. He became the starter again in 2008, hitting .265/.302/.374. Through 2008, his career batting line is .256/.305/.348. Ishihara was a surprise pick for Japan's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He was the third-string catcher behind Kenji Johjima and Shinnosuke Abe, playing one game and not batting as Japan won the World Baseball Classic.
Primary Source: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland