Takashi Toritani’s iron-man reputation is intact after the Hanshin Tigers third baseman played one day after breaking his nose on a fastball to the face.
Toritani wore a black face guard when he came to the plate as a pinch hitter during the sixth inning of Thursday’s game against the Yomiuri Giants, buoyed by swells of applause from the home crowd at Koshien Stadium.
The 35-year-old captain grounded out to third to end the inning, but the turn at bat extended his streak of 1,795 consecutive games played, the longest active streak in Nippon Professional Baseball and the second-longest in Japanese history.
Toritani’s appearance came one day after he was struck in the face by a 90mph fastball by Mitsuo Yoshikawa during the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game.
A stretcher was prepared but Toritani declined assistance and walked off the field on his own while holding his face with a towel. He was taken to a hospital in Hyogo for tests, where he was later diagnosed with a broken nose.
Yoshikawa apologized to Toritani for the errant pitch on Wednesday, Nikkan Sports reported.
Toritani, a six-time NPB All-Star and one of the league’s most popular players, is batting .295 with 18 RBIs in 43 games for the first-place Tigers.