TEMPE, Ariz. — Hiroyuki Kobayashi has shown a decent split-fingered fastball, which he used to strike out two batters in Sunday’s split-squad game against the Chicago Cubs.
But he apparently didn’t show enough of a fastball to stick with the Angels, who released the Japanese right-hander Monday morning.
Manager Mike Scioscia said after Sunday’s game that Kobayashi, who gave up a solo home run to Brad Nelson, would have to boost his fastball from the 86-mph range he’s been throwing at this spring to 90 or 91 mph.
The team obviously was not confident that the 34-year-old right-hander could do that.
“I think he does have a little more velocity in him, but we haven’t seen it yet,” Scioscia said Sunday. “The thing about guys who throw the fastball and the split, they’re really sensitive to velocity. If they’re throwing at 90, 91, 92 mph, that’s one thing, but if they’re at 86, 87 mph, they’re not getting the dimension of that split-finger like they can.”
[Updated at 10:51 a.m.: Kobayashi's agent, Alan Nero, said the Angels released the pitcher because he had virtually no chance of making the team, and the Angels wanted to give him a better chance of catching on with another club.
"We appreciate his professionalism," Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He enjoyed a solid career in the Nippon Professional Baseball League, and I'm glad he had the opportunity to spend time in our camp. We had three weeks to assess him and don't see an opportunity for him as we move forward."]
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