Gittens preparing to play overseas in Japan
SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) -After spending the last seven years in the New York Yankees organization, Chris Gittens is now heading overseas to continue his professional baseball career in Japan.
“My agent texted me during the offseason after the season was overt and was like, do feel like going to Japan and I was like, yeah I’d love to,” said Gittens. “It’s another opportunity to play. The Yankees let me get released so I could go to Japan.”
The Sherman native and former Grayson College Viking is joining the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Gittens’ is planning on arriving to Japan sometime in February, although COVID-19 has made it difficult to pin down an exact date.
Until he departs, Gittens is back in Texoma, training at C4 Sports Performance and working out with the Grayson College baseball team.
“Consistency, mobility, strength and stability,” said C4 owner Sean Cooper regard the focus of Gittens’ workouts. “Just having fun and getting him to enjoy training.”
“My focus is getting my body right, getting my eyes right for the pitcher,” said Gittens. “I know there’s different pitchers compared to Japan and over here.”
“He’s getting to see some velo off the machine, so the bats get going a little bit,” said Grayson Baseball head coach Dusty Hart. “Instead of just having somebody front toss to you in the cage. I think it also helps him get back into a rhythm.”
Gittens is looking forward to experiencing baseball in Japan and reuniting with his former Yankees teammate, Masahiro Tanaka.
“Having him, I can ask him questions, ask him about this,” said Gittens. “Even going out to eat I can be like, what’s the best places to go to. So it’s going to be great. They said that the fans are even wilder. They love the game. They love everything about baseball.”
While the goal for Gittens is to still make it to the majors long term, he’s fully embracing the opportunity in front of him.
“Maybe if I like it over there I might just stay over there, we never know,” said Gittens. “We’ll do that when it comes.”
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