Kansas City Royals rightfielder Norichika Aoki might be the least photogenic player in team history.
The 32-year-old Aoki has been caught looking ridiculous diving out of the way of pitches at the plate, roaming around the outfield taking the scenic routes toward balls, and getting doubled off third base by Mike Trout. Friday night in Toronto, however, Aoki’s season took a definite turn toward the slapstick, when he attempted to field Edwin Encarnacion‘s foul popup in the bottom of the 3rd inning:
Eric Hosmer, who you can see looking on in the video clip, has to be glad that it was Aoki and not himself getting clocked in the groin by the errant ball.
Norichika Aoki won six Gold Gloves while playing centerfield for Tokyo’s Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League. Somehow, his defensive skills have failed to translate, or faded with age. This season, the 32-year-old Aoki has been something of an adventure every time a ball has been hit to right field against Kansas City.
Aoki has also been a disappointment as the Royals leadoff hitter so far this season. Aoki came to Kansas City with a career .355 OBP and 105 OPS+ in two seasons in Milwaukee. In Kansas City, Aoki has posted a poor .265/.326/.319 triple slash for a well-below-average OPS of .645 (OPS+ 79).
Aoki, however, recovered from this painful episode to record two hits on the day, including a ground rule double to deep center that bounced over the wall near the 400ft sign. The Royals went on to defeat Toronto 6-1.
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