Orix's pitcher Shunpei Yamashita, who was named Rookie of the Year in the Pacific League last season, pitched well in a practice game against Lotte, his first actual game in about six months, and pitched two scoreless innings. I showed you the finished product.

Last year, he injured his back during the summer and left the team, but this year he has vowed to play an active role throughout the season.

Pitcher Yamashita, 21, took to the mound for the first team for the first time as a starter in the opening game of last season.

He won nine games and was named Rookie of the Year with his fastball pitching, which was fast at 160 km/h and a sharp breaking ball.

However, at the end of August, he left the team with a back injury and was unable to play an active role throughout the season.

Since the off-season, pitcher Yamashita has set the goal of ``throwing at his best for the entire year'' and has been working hard on training to have the ``strongest body'' possible, including eating five meals a day and working hard to gain weight.

The practice match against Lotte on the 28th was my first actual match since August of last year, when I left the team.

Pitcher Yamashita, who threw all types of pitches, broke his bat with a powerful fastball and got a strikeout with a forkball, allowing only one hit and no runs through two innings.

He had a low pitch count of 20 pitches, so after getting off the mound, he went straight to the bullpen and threw a total of 40 pitches while checking the rotation of his breaking balls and seemed to be steadily making adjustments.

Pitcher Yamashita said, ``I was able to throw as hard as I could right now.I had a good feel for all types of pitches, so I want to improve that.After throwing for a year, I can contribute to the team by posting better results than last year.'' "I want to be the best in Japan again and be happy," he said of his aspirations.