Could Munenori Kawasaki Become A Fixture On The Toronto Blue Jays?
The Toronto Blue Jays signed infielder Munenori Kawasaki on the 02nd of March during spring training without any fan fare or media attention. Kawasaki had played 61 games for the Seattle Mariners batting under the Mendoza line after a successful career in the Japan Pacific League where he won two Gold Glove awards.
Kawasaki was assigned to Triple A without much thought as minor league depth in the event of an injury. Well low and behold the Blue Jays were looking for a shortstop after Jose Reyes suffered a badly sprained ankle sliding into second base. Kawasaki was promoted and seemed at the the time would fill the void until General Manager Alex Anthopoulos could wheel and deal a viable replacement.
After three games it is safe to say that Kawasaki has impressed and may be winning the hearts of the Blue Jays faithful with his exuberance and style of play. Kawasaki has been a factor in all three games, bunting then stealing a base, hitting a sacrifice fly and cruising to a triple all the while playing steady defence.
Kawasaki was on deck after a Maicer Izturis home run, when Izturis touched home plate and trotted towards Kawasaki for a high five, the camera panned on Kawasaki who was bowed with his hands together out of respect for Izturis. No high five just a bow. Emilio Bonifacio was later observed in the dugout with Kawasaki combining the bow with the “Lo Viste” hand sign that Bonifacio commonly uses. Perhaps the Japanese native is just what the Jays need to unite this bunch.
The 31-year-old hit over .300 on three occasions in Japan as a member of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and also swiped 44 bases in 2009 so perhaps Kawasaki can bring some of that magic north of the border. It will be impossible to replace what Reyes brings to the field day in and day out, but maybe just maybe Kawasaki can be the spark plug the Jays so desperately need.