Kotsay shares A's plan to work Fujinami into rotation


Shintaro Fujinami will be part of the Athletics' rotation for the 2023 MLB season. That much is clear.

Where exactly will he slot in? As The San Francisco Chronicle's Matt Kawahara reported on Tuesday, A's manager Mark Kotsay shared that the team's initial plan for Fujinami is for the Japanese star to take the mound every sixth, and possibly every seventh day in Oakland's rotation. 

This all but guarantees, at least at the start of the season, that the 28-year-old will not be part of a traditional five-man rotation. 

In speaking to reporters after the A's 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Kotsay explained the team's decision. 

“We feel strongly about keeping him in that routine,” Kotsay said. “There is a lot of change going on already for Fuji, so we want to try to at least keep something as consistent as possible and that’s his routines.” (H/T The San Francisco Chronicle's Matt Kawahara)

The A's have penciled in an initial plan for Fujinami and, as pitching coach Scott Emerson explained, will look to maximize his talent any way they can while helping him maintain a consistent routine. 

“At some point, coaches and front offices have to make decisions they feel is best for the player … We’ll look at the off-days and manipulate what we do. I don’t think anything is etched in stone," Emerson explained. 

“I think we’re simplifying things to understand how good his fastball can be. This guy’s going to have one of the best fastballs in the league. Can he locate it is going to be key … because all of his pitches are going to play off that fastball.”

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Oakland signed Fujinami to a one-year, $3.25 million contract in January with the intention of using him as a starting pitcher

While that still might be true, it's clear the A's, at least initially, will use Fujinami in a less-traditional role. 

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