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野球 : 日米でこんなに違う内野守備 〜楽天・松井稼頭央インタビュー〜
投稿日時: 2011-10-20 14:16:03

 東北楽天の松井稼頭央は今季、8年ぶりに日本でプレーした。全日程を終了しての成績は139試合で打率.260、9本塁打、48打点、15盗塁。西武時代はトリプルスリー(3割、30本塁打、30盗塁)を達成したスイッチヒッターとしては決して満足のいくシーズンではなかっただろう。ただ、守備では久々にショートストップのポジションを務め、好プレーを連発した。日本とメジャーリーグで内野守備にどのような違いがあるのか。二宮清純が仙台で本人に訊いた。
(写真:再三の好守が評価され、第6回「ジョージア魂」賞も受賞)

二宮: 本格的にショートを守るのはメッツの1年目以来7年ぶりです。ポジションはもちろん、メジャーリーグの球場は天然芝、日本の球場は主に人工芝という違いもある。戸惑いはありませんでしたか?
松井: 感覚はだいぶ戻ってきたと思います。最初はショートを守っていて、「あれ? ショートってこんなに動いてたのかな」と感じましたね。セカンドはショートと動きが逆ですが、肉体的にはラクです。その分、ランナーを気にしないといけなかったり、頭を使う。今季はショートでよく走っている印象を受けます。

二宮: 岩村明憲が日米の守備の違いについて、『Number』のインタビューでおもしろいことを語っています。「ゴロを捕るとき、日本人は左足が前、向こうは右足が前なんです」(2011年2月10日号)と。松井さんも同じことを感じましたか?
松井: 僕自身は左足が前とか右足が前という感覚はないですね。体の真ん中で捕ることを心がけています。ただ、日本は人工芝の球場が多いからイレギュラーが少ない。だから左足の前で捕ってから投げても問題ない。ところがメジャーリーグの球場は天然芝でアンツーカーの部分もある。イレギュラーがあるので左足を前にして確実に捕れるとは限らない。

二宮: 確かに左足を前にすると自分から見て右方向に打球が逸れた時、対応が難しくなります。
松井: 右方向に弾くと一塁から遠くなるので、アウトにできるチャンスが少なくなる。だから右側から足を出して捕球するのでしょう。これなら最悪、左に弾いてもすぐ拾えれば一塁は間に合う可能性があります。

二宮: ただ、右足を前にして捕ると、スローイングに移る際にステップが難しい気もしますが……。
松井: メジャーリーグの選手は捕ったら体ごとファーストを向いてスローイングします。ここは日本との違いでしょう。それで打球に応じて右足を引くか、左足を出すかして投げる。日本での左足の前で捕って、右足に体重移動するスローイングが基本ですが、向こうの選手は投げる際の軸足を左にしても右にしても対応できるんです。

二宮: 松井さんの守備はショートでもセカンドでも素晴らしいのですが、身体能力の高さとスピードを活かせばセンターだって守れたのではないでしょうか。
松井: 東尾(修)さんからは「センター、行け」っていつも言われてましたね(笑)。でも、内野をずっと守っていて外野に転向するのは思ったより難しいですよ。遊びで外野を守ったことがあるのですが、打球との距離感をつかむのが難しい。内野のフライだと打ち損じばかりですが、外野は芯でとらえた当たりもあるので、その判断がわからないんです。
(写真:「ファインプレーはおまけ。イージーなミスをしないことのほうが大事」と語る)

二宮: メジャーリーグに挑戦した日本人内野手がセカンドでのクロスプレーでケガをするケースが相次いでいます。松井さんに岩村、西岡剛……。これは向こうのスライディングが厳しいこともあるのでしょうが、もともとセカンドが本職ではなかったという点も影響しているのでしょうか。
松井: まぁ、向こうの選手は狙ってスライディングしてきますからね。完全に潰しにくる。僕の時はジャンピングスローしようと思ったら、ランナーのヒザが上がってきました。本当に痛かったですよ。でも、こちらとしても防御策を考えるしかない。僕はメッツ時代に「ベースを盾にしろ」と教わりました。つまり、セカンドベースの前に出てしまうと、もろに交錯してしまう。だから、極力ベースの上か手前でさばくようにしていました。

二宮: どうしてもダブルプレーの際には一塁へ早く送球したいので、体ごと前に行ってしまう。そうならないようにプレーすると?
松井: はい。それとサードやショートからの送球が来たら、すぐにヒザを一塁方向に向ける。横を向いたままだと強烈なスライディングに足を払われますからね。ただし、捕球してその場で反転してヒザを一塁方向に向けるのはなかなか難しい。だから僕は捕球した後に、ちょっと下がって体の向きを変えてから投げていました。

二宮: 久々のショートは、やはり一番守りがいがありますか?
松井: そうですね。このポジションにはこだわりがあります。できれば40歳になってもショートを守りたい。日本でもメジャーでも40代のショートってあまり聞かないですよね。だから、ショートをやり続けたい気持ちはメチャクチャ強いです。それを目標にこれからも頑張りたいと思っています。

<10月22日発売の『小説宝石』2011年11月号(光文社)では、松井選手のスイッチヒッター論など、さらに詳しいインタビュー記事が掲載されています。こちらもぜひご覧ください>


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