Slow but steady works for Lotte ace Naruse

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NISHINOMIYA, Japan, March 7 (20:21) Kyodo

Lotte Marines ace Yoshihisa Naruse threw four scoreless innings
in his preseason debut on Friday in a 6-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers
at Koshien Stadium.

Naruse, who has been named to start on Opening Day by Marines
manager Tsutomu Ito, allowed three hits without a walk while dealing
with a fastball that sat around 130 kilometers per hour.

"I think I'd like to see a little more speed, but as far as the
results go he shut them down like clockwork," Ito said. "I don't see
any problem."

With light snow falling, the 28-year-old lefty painted the
corners with his little fastball and breaking stuff, leaving the
Tigers hitters precious little to hit.

"I'm glad I could pitch the way I usually do in my first
preseason game," Naruse said. "It didn't feel that cold during the

"I worked well on the outside against the right-handed batters,
but I didn't pitch well inside to them."

For his spring debut, Naruse was paired with rookie catcher Yuta
Yoshida, and the ace showed awareness of his role on the team by
talking things over with the youngster prior to the game.

Yoshida, meanwhile, continued his steady hitting. In the second
inning, the Marines' second-round draft pick drove a low breaking
ball from the Tigers lefty Daiki Enokida down the left-field line for
a two-out, two-run double. Although the right-handed-hitting rookie
was unable to get down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning, he
singled in the sixth.

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