Way to go Arai!
Takahiro Arai reached 2,000 career hits as the 39-year-old helped the Hiroshima Carp defeat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 11-3 in the Central League on Tuesday.
With the Carp leading 3-0 after consecutive second-inning solo homers, Arai doubled in a run in the top of the third before 26,593 at Jingu Stadium. He also singled in the seventh inning ahead of Seiya Suzuki’s second homer of the game, a grand slam.
Arai began his career with Hiroshima in 1999 after the Carp made him their sixth-round draft pick out of Tokyo’s Komazawa University, which plays its league games at Jingu. He left as a free agent after the 2007 season and played seven seasons with the CL’s Hanshin Tigers before returning to the Carp last year. He is the 47th player to reach 2,000 hits in Nippon Professional Baseball.
“I’m happy because thanks to my teammates I could reach this plateau in a winning effort,” Arai said. “Before the game, I felt the same as usual, but hearing the fans’ support in my first at-bat, I got nervous (and flied out).”
But after the home runs from Brad Eldred, Suzuki and Shota Dobayashi, Arai lightened up.
“Seiya Suzuki said before the game, he’d hit two homers and he actually did,” Arai said. “The young guys on this team are great. It’s a lot of fun.
“I played here for four years in university and it’s a park that holds a lot of memories for me. I also owe a lot to my parents for making me strong.”
2,000 hits is an amazing accomplishment...and I never knew that he was a sixth-round pick! I wonder if he is the lowest picked player to reach the milestone...either way, kudos to him for having such a long and successful career and I hope he and Kuroda can take the Carp all the way to the promised land (the league championships) this year! Go Carp!
Have a great day!