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SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS - 第167回 愛媛・星野おさむ「元日本ハム・金森、復活への道」

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野球西国巡り(第1、3火曜更新) : 第167回 愛媛・星野おさむ「元日本ハム・金森、復活への道」
投稿日時: 2013-02-05 17:53:00

 1月21日から新チームでの練習がスタートしました。今季の愛媛はドラフトで6名の選手を獲得。またNPB復帰を目指し、西川雅人(元オリックス)、金森敬之(元北海道日本ハム)の2投手が入団します。

 西川はもともと愛媛の選手だったため球団とつながりがありましたが、金森は自ら「もう1度、独立リーグでやり直したい」と話がありました。彼は昨春、ひじの手術を受け、1年間を棒に振っています。「実戦で投げたい」という本人の強い気持ちを買い、採用することになりました。

 本人曰く「今の状態は70%」とのこと。ただ、キャッチボールを見る限り、もうほぼ問題ないように映りました。まずはオープン戦で実戦感覚を取り戻し、開幕からしっかりピッチングができるように調整してくれればと思っています。今季は河原純一(元中日)も含め、3名の元NPB選手が在籍しますが、彼らには自分のことを優先して取り組んでほしいものです。あれこれアドバイスしなくても、自らの姿を見せることが若手には何よりの教材となるでしょう。

 新人のピッチャーに関しては橋本隼(八千代松陰高−国際武道大−佐久コスモスターズ)が楽しみです。新チームでの練習も張り切って参加しており、オープン戦の早い段階で登板の機会を与えたいと考えています。身長170センチと小柄で、優しい顔つきに似合わず、バッターに向かっていく気持ちが強いところが彼の強みです。技術的にもストレートと変化球の腕の振りが変わりません。まだ球速が130キロ台ではありますが、うまく伸ばせば十分に戦力として計算できると期待しています。

 また18歳の右腕・木村祐太(秀明八千代高)は将来を見据えた獲得です。トライアウトで見た時には体全体に躍動感があり、ストレートに威力がある点が目に留まりました。今回のトライアウトでは小細工をして小さくまとまってしまった選手が多い中、彼は荒削りのままで自分の特徴をアピールしていました。171センチ、69キロとまだNPBを目指す体ではありませんから、まずはフィジカルを強化し、2、3年計画で育成していくプランを立てています。

 橋本将(元横浜)の抜けたキャッチャーでは、鶴田都貴(神村学園高−東京国際大)、飯田卓(初芝高−大阪産業大−NOMOベースボールクラブ)と2人を補強しました。2年目の宏誓、練習生の川添徹も加えれば、キャッチャーは4人体制となります。ポジション争いはかなり熾烈になるでしょう。

 鶴田は一昨年の東京新大学野球リーグの首位打者&打点王、飯田も昨年のJABAクラブリーグ大阪大会で首位打者になっています。シーズン中はバッティングを生かしてDH、一塁での起用もあるでしょう。

 飯田はトライアウトで初めて見た選手ですが、実戦形式のテストでキャッチャーとして、目をしきりにキョロキョロさせていたところが最終的には採用の決め手となりました。野村克也さんも言っているようにキャッチャーに必要なのは観察力や洞察力です。そのためにはいろいろなところに目配りし、情報を収集することが求められます。こういった仕草が自然とできるのであれば、伸びしろがあるはずです。

 内野手の成廣築(岡山学芸館高−福山大)は捕る、投げるという動作がやわらかく、二遊間をやらせたい選手です。ただ、前へ前へと気持ちが全面に出るタイプだけに三塁もおもしろいかもしれません。NPBでも近年のサードは打撃が優先され、守備の巧い選手が少なくなっています。それだけに意外と狙い目のポジションだとみています。今後の練習やオープン戦を見極めながら、ポジションを決める予定です。

 成廣と同じ岡山学芸館高出身の岡本雅人(ショウワコーポレーション)は現状、これといった武器はありません。しかし、テストの時にどの選手よりも一生懸命取り組む姿勢にひかれました。まだ技術的にもきちんとしたものがない半面、ヘンなクセもついていません。素直にこちらの教えを吸収し、化けてほしいと願っています。

 今季のキャプテンは地元出身の高田泰輔に決まりました。実は本人がキャプテンに立候補したと聞き、驚いたと同時にうれしさを感じています。昨年の高田は人間的にも大きく成長しました。“自分がチームを引っ張る”という自覚が芽生えてきたのは良いことです。とはいえ、コミュニケーションスキルはまだまだ。キャプテンとして一人前になるには、もっと思ったことを口に出せないと周囲はついてきません。言動、行動を一層、磨いて、一回りも二回りも大きくなれば、選手としても殻を破れることでしょう。

 昨年は後期優勝こそできたものの、年間優勝という宿題が残ってしまいました。リーグチャンピオンシップで香川に敗れて感じたのは、「勝たないとワンランク上のチームはつくれない」ということ。勝ってこそ選手もチームも脱皮し、新たな歴史をつくれるのだと思っています。僕も愛媛で指揮を執り、3年目となりました。プロは1年1年が勝負の中、3年も監督をやらせていただいたのですから、今季は本当に結果を残さなくてはなりません。

 今季のスローガンは、ずばり「掴む」。優勝を掴み、選手たちの夢も掴める1年にしたいと決意を固めています。新しいシーズンも応援よろしくお願いします。


星野おさむ(ほしの・おさむ)プロフィール>:愛媛マンダリンパイレーツ監督
 1970年5月4日、埼玉県出身。埼玉県立福岡高を経て、89年にドラフト外で阪神に入団。内野のユーティリティープレーヤーとして、93年に1軍デビューを果たすと、97年には117試合に出場。翌年には開幕スタメンで起用される。02年にテストを経て近鉄へ。04年に近鉄球団が合併で消滅する際には、本拠地最終戦でサヨナラ打を放つ。05年に分配ドラフトで楽天に移籍し、同年限りで引退。06年からは2軍守備走塁コーチ、2軍打撃コーチなどを務めた。11年より愛媛の監督に就任。


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