Yuji Yoshimi (吉見 祐治)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 190 lb.
Yuji Yoshimi is a former Olympic pitcher
Yoshimi pitched Tohoku Fukushi University into the finale of the All-Japan University Baseball Championship Series in 2000. He once threw a no-hitter against Miyagi Kyoiku University in college. He was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in the 2000 Olympics, fanning 12 in 8 innings. He had the best ERA of any of Japan's starters. The other southpaws on the team were Masanori Ishikawa and Toshiya Sugiuchi. His victory came against Orlando Stewart and the Dutch national team.
Yuji was picked by the Yokohama BayStars in the second round of the 2000 draft. He made his debut with the big club in 2001 but battled a shoulder injury and was rocked for 15 hits, 7 walks and 11 runs in 10 1/3 IP, going 0-1. Healthy in 2002, he had a 11-8, 3.64 record. He gave up 25 home runs, tying Shugo Fujii for the Central League lead.
Yoshimi was Yokohama's Opening Day starter in 2003 (the only time from 2002-2007 that fellow 2000 Olympian Daisuke Miura did not get that call) but he never got on track, finishing 3-10 with a 8.38 ERA, .337 opponent average and 25 gopher balls in 81 2/3 IP. He was three homers shy of leader Koji Uehara. Yoshimi almost threw a no-hitter in 2004, on October 14, getting 26 outs before Kazuki Fukuchi connected; oddly, it was Fukuchi's lone hit that year. For the campaign, Yuji had a 7-5, 5.26 record, a big improvement on 2003.
The left-hander saw limited action in 2005 (4-2, 4.22 in 10 starts and two relief stints) then had a 2-9, 4.35 record in 2006. Moving to a swingman role, Yoshimi was 3-4 with a 4.27 ERA and .309 opponent average in 2007. He was 3-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts and 31 relief appearances in 2008. In 2009, he was 3-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 27 games (13 starts).
In 2010, Chiba Lotte Marines manager Norifumi Nishimura was asking his club to get him a veteran left-hander. In early May, they acquired Yoshimi from the BayStars for cash. He had allowed four runs in 1 1/3 IP to open the season with Yokohama, but after the trade was 6-7 with a 5.18 ERA for the Marines. After years with cellar-dwelling Yokohama, he made the 2010 Japan Series, his first trip to a Japan Series.