A trio of Japanese American major leaguers find themselves in very different situations at this point in the season.
With the All-Star Game just over a month away, Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki ranks fifth in votes among AL catchers. Known primarily for his defense, Suzuki is off to one of his best offensive starts hitting .302 with two homeruns and 29 RBIs. He’s seeking his first All-Star appearance in a career that began with the Oakland A’s in 2007. Suzuki has also played for the Washington Nationals and recently said he’s open to an extension with the Twins.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brandon League has come back from a horrendous 2013 season that saw him demoted from his closer role and gained him a chorus of boos with every outing. The setup man recently went 23.1 innings without giving up an earned run. League is 1-2 with a 1.91 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 26 appearances.
Unfortunately, Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney may find himself in a new uniform by August. The 2012 Gold Glover is now a utility player simply because he can’t seem to hit. Barney is batting a dismal .200 in 110 at-bats in 45 games. His average dropped to .208 last year and his quiet bat could make him a 4-A player.
Drew Morita, a Yonsei from Kaua‘i, writes from San Francisco. Follow him @drewmorita or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.