Kaprielian says Fujinami fits right in with A's locker room


Shintaro Fujinami appears to be finding his way with the Athletics during spring training. 

Speaking with NBC Sports California during the Cincinnati Reds-A's matchup Saturday at Hohokam Stadium, starting pitcher James Kaprielian explained how Fujinami, his locker mate, is adjusting to life in the United States. 

"Fuji's great," Kaprielian shared. "My locker's right next to him so I've had a chance to get to know him, his translator, his massage guy very well and Fuji, he's adjusting to the culture very well.

"It's obviously different being here but he fits right in with the guys. I think he's going to have a lot of success at the major league level and I'm just excited to see him once the games actually start going, what he's capable of doing."

Kaprielian added that Fujinami has "electric stuff" and he -- along with the rest of the A's -- is just waiting to see how the 28-year-old's repertoire translates once the 2023 MLB season begins in a few weeks. 

Fujinami's pitching was on full display in his spring training debut against former AL MVP and fellow countryman Shohei Ohtani on Feb. 28. Despite the loss, Fujinami had three strikeouts, three walks, and surrendered one hit in two innings pitched. 

With Fujinami holding a bevy of plus pitches in his repertoire, Kaprielian was asked if he and the Japanese flamethrower ever compared pitches, to which Kaprielian replied that his new teammate "gassed him up."

"We played catch once and he told me he's never seen a ball move like that in Japan," Kaprielian continued. "He told me that and I was feeling pretty confident about myself and I think I had my best side of the spring training so far after he told me that."

RELATED: A's All-Star starter Blackburn will begin 2023 season on IL

With Oakland's 2022 All-Star Paul Blackburn set to start the season on the IL, that should ensure Fujinami a spot in the rotation. 

Regardless of where he pitches, Fujinami already is fitting in and A's fans are hoping he will be a key contributor for Oakland moving forward. 

Contact Us