Atsushi Kizuka

From BR Bullpen

Atsushi Kizuka (木塚 敦志)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 187 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Sidearmer Atsushi Kizuka was a one-time All-Star in 11 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Kizuka threw a no-hitter against Tokyo University while in college. The Yokohama BayStars took him in the second round of the 1999 draft. He made the BayStars out of spring training, won the Opening Day contest in relief and became the closer. In an excellent rookie campaign, he was 7-3 with 18 saves, a 2.89 ERA, .206 opponent average, .95 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 62 1/3 IP. He was third in the Central League in saves behind Eddie Gaillard and Shingo Takatsu. In 2001, he went 9-5 with 3 saves, a 2.48 ERA, .191 opponent average and .93 WHIP as the set-up man to Takashi Saitoh. He tied Shigeo Tamaki for the CL lead in relief wins.

Kizuka fell to 1-3 with two saves and a 3.92 ERA in 2002, battling back problems that sidelined him for part of the year. He went 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in 2003 and 2-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 2004. The right-hander had a good year at 6-5, 2.44 with a 1.06 WHIP in 2005, setting up Marc Kroon. In 2006, he went 3-1 with a 3.54 ERA in 59 outings. He set a Yokohama record with 76 games pitched in 2007, though he totaled just 35 1/3 IP; he was 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA. He was second in the CL in appearances, still 14 behind leader Tomoyuki Kubota. He also made his only All-Star team; in the All-Star Game, he combined with Koji Uehara, Takatsu, Masanori Hayashi, Hitoki Iwase, Hiroki Kuroda, Kubota, Kroon and Kyuji Fujikawa on a one-hitter against the Pacific League.

Kizuka battled a shoulder injury in 2008 and was limited to 16 games and 6 IP (5 R). He was 3-2 with a 4.83 ERA in 2009 then allowed 5 runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 IP in 2010, ending his career.

Overall, Kizuka pitched 490 games in NPB with a 35-25, 3.35 record and 24 saves (mostly in his rookie year). He pitched 462 1/3 IP, with 402 hits, 127 walks and 367 whiffs. He set a CL record for consecutive pitching outings without making a start. After his playing career ended, he coached for the BayStars.

Kizuka threw a fastball, slider and sinker mostly, also working in a shuuto and curveball.