Red Sox

Masataka Yoshida shared Shohei Ohtani gave him advice during WBC, feels ‘ready to play for Boston’ after Japan’s title

"It was a really great experience for me," Yoshida said of his two-plus weeks playing with Team Japan for the World Baseball Classic.

Masataka Yoshida got to learn from Shohei Ohtani during the World Baseball Classic. AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Masataka Yoshida arguably got to play with the best baseball player in the world during the World Baseball Classic. He got the opportunity to learn from that player, too.

Shohei Ohtani, along with Yoshida, led Japan to victory in the World Baseball Classic, taking home the title in a 3-2 win over the USA on Tuesday. The tournament was practically Yoshida’s final tuneup before he takes on playing in MLB full-time. 

As his first major league action is now less than a week away, Yoshida shared that Ohtani gave him some advice on handling the big league in America during their couple of weeks together.


“He gave me some advice, each situation, and how to wait and how to look at the ball against a pitcher in the U.S.,” Yoshida told reporters through his translator, Keiichiro Wakabayashi. “That was really comfortable and helpful for me.”

If Yoshida’s performance in the World Baseball Classic is any indicator of his future performance with the Red Sox, he won’t need much advice to succeed. He hit .409 with two homers and a tournament-leading 13 RBIs in the tournament.

Yoshida’s big moment of the World Baseball Classic came in the seventh inning of the semifinal against Mexico. With Japan trailing 3-0, Yoshida turned a pitch that was low and inside into a home run that landed in the right-field bleachers, tying the game. 

Yoshida admitted that he was put into “good positions to get the RBIs,” saying it gave him “confidence.”

“It was a really great experience for me,” Yoshida said of his time in the tournament.” I was honored to represent Team Japan. Every single pitch was meaningful so I felt a lot. Throughout the WBC, it was a really good experience for me in my career.”

Yoshida, who also won the Japan Series in 2022 with the Orix Buffaloes, said he was “really happy” to win both championships in recent months. He also thinks the World Baseball Classic better prepared him for his rookie season with the Red Sox than spring training. 


“It was a tough decision before I decided on the World Baseball Classic, but it was a great, great decision, because I was able to play under a lot of pressure and there were a lot of great players,” Yoshida said. “That was really great for me. And then batting-wise, I had over 30 at-bats, so that’s helpful for me. I think I’m ready to play for Boston.”

Now that he says he’s ready to get going with the Red Sox, much of the attention has turned to Yoshida. A lot of attention was already on him as he was the Red Sox’ biggest signing this offseason, agreeing to a five-year, $90 million deal. But many have wondered where Yoshida will hit in the lineup.

If Friday’s lineup against the Braves is any indication, Yoshida will hit in the cleanup spot. Yoshida said he doesn’t have a preference on where he wants to hit in the lineup, instead focusing on situational baseball.

“To be honest, I don’t care where I hit,” Yoshida said. “The fact I focus on is I need to adjust to every single situation. With nobody on base, I need to get on base and with somebody in scoring position, I’ll try to get him to home plate. That’s what I’ll focus on.”


Yoshida went 0-for-2 with a walk in the Red Sox’ spring training win over the Braves on Friday, which was his first game back from the World Baseball Classic.

Even though Yoshida has yet to play an official game with the Red Sox, he may have already become a fan favorite with his play in the World Baseball Classic as fans shared their excitement for him throughout the tournament. 

Yoshida took notice and is looking forward to playing in Boston.

“I’m really honored,” Yoshida said. “Boston has a lot of fans. I’m so excited to play in front of a lot of fans.”


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