HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 22 (acn) Cuban Yurisbel Gracial blasted his first homerun in the 2018 Japanese Professional Baseball League (NPB) yesterday night.
Batting fourth in the line-up, Gracial hit 2 for 5, including a solo homer in the fifth frame, with 3 RBIs in the 10-5 win of his team, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, over the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
The Cuban utility recently returned to Japan after ranking second in the Central American and Caribbean Games with his national side.
This is Gracial´s debuting season in NPB as he was hired by the Hawks last February.
He now has batting average of .333 (16 hits in 48 ABs) and slugging of .396 but in only 16 games, because in addition to his compromise with the Cuban national team, he was also injured at the beginning of the season.
Two other Cuban players, OF/DH Alfredo Despaigne and lefty setup reliever Livan Moinelo also play with this club.
Last season, Despaigne was homerun and RBI leader in the NPB Pacific League with 35 and 103 respectively, while Moinelo also had a pretty good performance when this same squad which won the Japan Series and they both signed extensions in their respective contracts.
The Hawks appear third in the Pacific League this year with balance of 54 wins and 49 losses, 8 games behind the leaders, the Seibu Lions, and 1.5 behind their last victim.