Morning Sports Update

Masataka Yoshida said it’s an ‘honor’ to play for the Red Sox

The 29-year-old has been busy over the last six months, winning multiple championships.

Masataka Yoshida
Masataka Yoshida rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run against Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Eric Espada/Getty Images

The Celtics lost to the Wizards on Tuesday, 130-111. The Bruins also lost, falling 2-1 to the Predators.

Tomorrow, the Bruins will be home to face the Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. The Celtics will be on the road in Milwaukee to play the Bucks at 7:30 p.m.

Also on Thursday, the Red Sox begin the 2023 season at Fenway Park against the Orioles at 2:10 p.m.

Masataka Yoshida on the Red Sox: It’s been a whirlwind six months for Masataka Yoshida.

The 29-year-old outfielder helped Orix Buffaloes win the 2022 Japan Series in October, smashing a walk-off home run in Game 5. He then chose to pursue a career in Major League Baseball, opting to sign with the Red Sox in December on a five-year deal.


Having gone through most of spring training, Yoshida then joined his Japanese teammates for the World Baseball Classic. He helped Japan to victory in a thrilling tournament, setting a WBC record with 13 RBIs in the process.

Ahead of the Red Sox season opener (which gets underway against the Orioles at Fenway Park on Thursday at 2:10 p.m.), Yoshida spoke about what it means to play for Boston.

“It’s a real honor to play for the Boston Red Sox because they are a really traditional team, and a lot of times [have ended the season as] World Series champions,” Yoshida explained through translator Keiichiro Wakabayashi, according to’s C.J. Haddad on Tuesday. “The only thing I’m focusing on is [trying] to play hard every day and contribute to the team winning.”

His recent performance in the WBC could be a boost for Yoshida. While it can be tough to get off to a good start with a new team, the veteran outfielder has already proven in 2023 that he can hit against quality pitching.

“[The WBC] was a really great experience,” said Yoshida. “I was really happy to represent my team.”

On Tuesday, he swatted a towering home run in the Red Sox spring training finale, seemingly a strong sign that he’s ready for the regular season.

“I’m always thinking about hitting a line drive to center field, so what I did was really good, I think,” Yoshida concluded.


In seven seasons at Japan’s highest level, Yoshida held a combined .327 average with 133 home runs and a .960 OPS.

Trivia: Only two players have hit home runs on the first pitch of the season in MLB history. One was a member of the Red Sox (the other was Ian Happ in 2018). Can you name the Red Sox player to do it?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: It happened in 1986 off of future Hall of Famer Jack Morris.

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