Akinori Otsuka

Akinori Otsuka
Chunichi Dragons – No. 74
Pitcher / Coach
Born: (1972-01-13) January 13, 1972
Chiba, Japan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Professional debut
MLB: April 6, 2004, for the San Diego Padres
NPB: May 13, 1987, for the Kintetsu Buffaloes
Last appearance
MLB: July 1, 2007, for the Texas Rangers
NPB: 2003, for the Chunichi Dragons
MLB statistics
(through 2007)
Win–loss record 13–15
Earned run average 2.44
Strikeouts 217
Saves 39
NPB statistics
(through 2003)
Win–loss record 14–23
Earned run average 2.39
Strikeouts 474
Saves 137

As player

As manager

  • Shinano Grandserows (2012–2014)

As coach

  • Chunichi Dragons (2015–present)
Akinori Otsuka
Medal record
Representing  Japan
Men's Baseball
World Baseball Classic
2006 San Diego Team

Akinori Otsuka (大塚 晶則 Ōtsuka Akinori) (born January 13, 1972 in Chiba, Japan) is a retired Japanese baseball pitcher who coaches for the Chunichi Dragons in Nippon Professional Baseball. He was formerly the set-up man for the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers. He was also the closer for Japan's 2006 World Baseball Classic winning team.

Otsuka threw a low-90's 4-seam fastball (tops out at about 94 mph) that is very straight, along with a hard, late-breaking slider. He employed an unorthodox pitching delivery wherein he lifted his lead leg up very slowly, tapped his glove, then fired to home plate, making his pitches look faster coming out of his hand and thus harder to pick up.

MLB Career

San Diego Padres

Otsuka came to the United States after several years of pitching in the Japanese League when his former team, the Chunichi Dragons, used the posting system to solicit bids from MLB clubs for the right to negotiate with him. The Padres offered the top bid, and signed him to a three-year contract on December 9, 2003.

On January 6, 2006, Otsuka was traded to the Rangers, along with pitcher Adam Eaton and minor league catcher Billy Killian, in exchange for pitcher Chris Young, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and outfielder Terrmel Sledge.

Texas Rangers

Otsuka took over the role as the closer for the Rangers during the 2006 season, replacing Francisco Cordero, and recorded 32 saves while posting a 2.11 ERA. However, on December 19, 2006, the Rangers announced that newly signed Éric Gagné would take over the closer role in 2007, with Otsuka moving back into a set-up role. On January 13, 2007, T. R. Sullivan reported that, in an interview in Japan, Otsuka said "If there is the team which needs me as a closer, I am going to think about (the trade)".[1] Due to Gagné starting the season on the DL, Otsuka began the 2007 season as the closer. With the trade of Gagne to the Boston Red Sox, Otsuka assumed the closer's role again. However, Otsuka went on the DL after experiencing tighntess in his throwing shoulder. His stand-in was C. J. Wilson. Otsuka was not offered a new contract by the Rangers and became a free agent on December 12, 2007.

Post MLB and Retirement

On January 10, 2008, Otsuka announced that he would undergo elbow surgery.

Shinano Grandserows

Otsuka was the player-manager of the Shinano Grandserows of the Japanese Baseball Challenge League from 2012–2014. The team held his retirement ceremony on September 15, 2014.[2]

Coaching Career

Chunichi Dragons

Otsuka was brought back to his old stomping ground with the Chunichi Dragons on the 3rd of October 2015 as one of the second team pitching coaches.[3]

In 2016, with first team pitching coach Shinichi Kondoh on leave to have hernia surgery, Otsuka helped lead the first team pitchers in spring camp.[4] He however returned to working with the second team following Kondoh's return. On 26 September, Otsuka was unveiled as the pitching coach for the U-23 Japanese national team for the 2016 WBSC U-23 World Cup.[5]

Personal life

Otsuka and his wife, Akemi, have one son, Toranosuke, and one daughter, Hikaru.[6]


Major Leagues (Total as of July 26, 2008)

Japanese Professional Leagues

Season by Season
Last update: 26 July 2008

Year Team Age GP W L S IP ER K ERA
1997 JapanKintetsu Buffaloes 255245782.2191272.07
1998 JapanKintetsu Buffaloes 2649323555.113322.11
1999 JapanKintetsu Buffaloes 272514629.29323.95
2000 JapanOsaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 2839132441.211972.38
2001 JapanOsaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 294825265625824.02
2002 JapanOsaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 3041212242.16541.82
2003 JapanChunichi Dragons 315113174310562.09
2004 United StatesSan Diego Padres 327372077.315871.75
2005 United StatesSan Diego Padres 336628062.725603.59
2006 United StatesTexas Rangers 3463243259.714472.11
2007 United StatesTexas Rangers 353421432.19232.51

*Bold = led league


  1. hondohr33@aol.com on January 15, 2007 3:33 PM – Reply. "Thus spoke Akinori « Postcards From Elysian Fields". Trsullivan.mlblogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
  2. Gen. "BC League Final Standings, Playoff Schedule, Updates; Gunma wins League Championship," Yakyubaka.com (September 16, 2014).
  3. "大塚晶文氏と投手コーチ合意のお知らせ (Announcement regarding Akinori Otsuka as new pitching coach)" (in Japanese). Chunichi Dragons. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  4. "【中日】ヘルニアで休養の近藤コーチ、3月中の現場復帰目指す (Coach Kondo rested with hernia, aims to be back in mid-march)" (in Japanese). Sports Hochi. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  5. "侍ジャパンU-23代表の監督・コーチが決定 (Samurai Japan U-23 manager and coaches decided)" (in Japanese). Samurai Japan. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. "MLB Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights-MLB". Mlb.mlb.com. 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-08-29.

External links

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