The Padres have added former big league pitcher Hideo Nomo to their staff this spring as an advisor, where he'll observe pitchers in camp and offer instruction where he sees fit.
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"First of all, coming to Spring Training, [I] want to learn about the team, what kind of team we have, what kind of players we have," Nomo said through interpreter Acey Kohrogi, an advisor to the team's Pacific Rim operations. "... I'm hoping through my experiences I can pass some of that information on to some of the players here."
Nomo was the first Japanese player to permanently move to Major League Baseball, paving the way for more than 50 other Japanese players who have followed. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 at the age of 45, the youngest player ever elected.
Nomo said joining the Padres was a natural fit based on his relationship with general manager A.J. Preller, as well as the O'Malley and Seidler family from his time with the Dodgers.
Peter Seidler is a lead investor with the Padres and his brother, Tom, is the team's senior vice president of military and community affairs.
"A.J. took an interest in working with me. I was very happy to hear that. Second is that the O'Malley family, the Seidler family, owns the team and if there's anything I can help with that, too," Nomo said.
"I will do whatever I can to help the Padres. Japan and Asia, I'm hoping to increase the Padres' presence in those areas, so maybe we can all be at the ballpark, Petco Park, with more Asian fans in the stands."
Nomo also has a tie to Padres senior advisor Logan White from when both were with the Dodgers. In addition to watching pitchers this spring, Nomo will try to glean as much knowledge from the front office staff as well.
"I think I have a lot to learn. I can learn about evaluation from Logan, so I'm very excited about studying under him," Nomo said. "Also, I'm hoping good players come to the Padres and maybe Asian fans in Asia and the United States."
Nomo, who made his big league debut in 1995 with the Dodgers, said he's proud of the players who have followed him from Japan. That pipeline remains strong.
"I think in Major League Baseball in general, there already are good international players coming through, so it's natural the Padres have an international presence and get players from international sources," he said.
Nomo was asked if he would teach his forkball to any players in camp. He smiled.
"Yes, of course. If somebody asks me to show them the forkball, how to throw the forkball, I would definitely like to work with that," Nomo said. "It depends on the individual, so if the pitchers want to learn about it, I'll be happy to help teach it."