Atsushi Fujimoto

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Atsushi Fujimoto (藤本 敦士) (Monkey)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Atsushi Fujimoto is a Bronze Medal winner and was an All-Star in Japan.

Fujimoto's college career was derailed by a herniated disk as a freshman, ending his time at Asia University. He later played for Dupro in the industrial leagues. The Hanshin Tigers took him in the 7th round of the 2000 draft. He debuted with Hanshin in 2001, hitting a respectable .269/.320/.355 in 75 games as a rookie.

In 2002, Atsushi fell to .209/.252/.259 in 162 plate appearances over 63 games for Hanshin; he was one of three players to rotate at shortstop. He also spent time in ni-gun and was MVP of a minor league All-Star game that year.

Fujimoto became Hanshin's starting shortstop in 2003 and did well, hitting .301/.343/.376 with 7 triples, tied with Norihiro Akahoshi for third in the Central League. He was 11th in the CL in average. He was less successful in the 2003 Japan Series, going 2 for 19 as Hanshin fell in 7 games.

The Akashi native fell to .257/.308/.343 in the 2004 season. He missed time to play for Japan in the 2004 Olympics, where he batted .276/.344/.448 as Japan's starting second baseman (Shinya Miyamoto manned short). He scored 7 runs in 9 games in the Olympics and fielded .976. He was 0 for 4 in Japan's Bronze Medal game rout of Team Canada.

In 2005, Fujimoto hit .249/.313/.308 while moving to second base to make way at short for top prospect Takashi Toritani. He was 0 for 5 in the 2005 Japan Series, in which the Tigers were swept by the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Fujimoto's woes mounted in 2006 when he only batted .237/.285/.295 with 35 runs and 30 RBI in 138 games, though he did field .995. He did make the CL All-Star team that year and was named MVP of the All-Star series, becoming the 4th player ever to be named MVP of both minor league and major league All-Star contests in Japanese history. He was a part-timer by 2007, hitting .243/.304/.284 in 164 plate appearances over 105 games. He only had 89 plate appearances in 58 games in 2008, producing at a .250/.306/.289 rate. He remained a backup at second in 2009, going 14 for 64 with 3 walks and a double.

A free agent, he signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for 2010.

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