Brandon Laird
Laird batting for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2016
Chiba Lotte Marines – No. 54
Third baseman / First baseman
Born: (1987-09-11) September 11, 1987 (age 34)
Cypress, California
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Professional debut
MLB: July 22, 2011, for the New York Yankees
NPB: March 27, 2015, for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
MLB statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average.197
Home runs6
Runs batted in16
NPB statistics
(through July 14, 2021)
Batting average.245
Home runs187
Runs batted in508
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Brandon J. Laird (born September 11, 1987), nicknamed "Sushi Boy",[1] is an American-born Mexican professional baseball third baseman for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He has played for the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB), and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He also played for the Mexico national team at the World Baseball Classic.

High school and college career

Laird attended La Quinta High School in Westminster, California.[2] He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 27th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball draft. He did not sign,[3] opting to attend Cypress College, where he played college baseball for the Cypress Chargers.[4]

Professional career

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees selected Laird in the 27th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft.[5] He signed with the Yankees.

On August 2, 2010, Laird was promoted from the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees of the Class AAA International League.[6] Laird was named both the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year of the Eastern League in 2010, following a breakout season.[7] Following the 2010 season, he was added to the Yankees' 40 man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.[8]

Laird during his tenure with the New York Yankees in 2011
Laird during his tenure with the New York Yankees in 2011

Laird was promoted to the majors for the first time on July 18, 2011, when Ramiro Peña was placed on the disabled list.[9] On July 22, at Yankee Stadium, Laird made his major league debut, and got his first major league hit and RBI against Oakland Athletics pitcher Craig Breslow on a single to center field. He scored his first run earlier in the game, scoring on a single by Nick Swisher after working a walk off of A's pitcher Joey Devine. The Yankees designated Laird for assignment on August 27, 2012.[10]

Houston Astros

Laird was claimed by the Houston Astros on September 1, 2012.[11] Laird started the 2013 season with the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks. The Astros promoted Laird to the big leagues on April 18, 2013, after Brett Wallace was optioned to Oklahoma City. Laird had been hitting .353 in 12 games to earn his promotion.[12] He was outrighted off the roster on October 2, 2013.[13][14] Laird ended his 2013 season batting .169.[15]

Washington Nationals

Laird signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals on November 23, 2013.[16] On March 15, 2014, Laird was traded to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later.[17] He played for the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League, and was named the league's player of the week for the week of June 16‐22.[18]

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

In November 2014, Laird signed with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).[19] Laird struggled to start the 2015 season with Hokkaido, batting under .200 into June. On the final day of the All Star break, Fighters third base coach Shirai took Laird out to dinner at a local sushi restaurant to get him to relax. The chef, a big Fighters fan, suggested that Laird should act like he is making sushi when he got into the batter's box to intimidate the pitcher. The next day, he did not do the gesture getting into the batter's box, but after he hit a home run, he acted like he was making sushi and thus the nickname "sushi boy" was born.[20] He started to gain momentum after that performance and had a nice second half, finishing his first season in NPB with 34 home runs and a batting average of .231.[21]

In 2016, Laird led the Pacific League with 39 home runs. He hit the game-winning home run in Game 4 of the 2016 Japan Series,[22] and a grand slam in Game 6. Laird won the Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award.[23]

Laird spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the club, but failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension prior to the 2019 season and became a free agent.[24]

Chiba Lotte Marines

On January 15, 2019, Laird signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines of NPB.[25]

Personal life

Brandon's brother, Gerald, is a catcher who played in the major leagues.[26]

References

  1. ^ "ニックネーム". 千葉ロッテマリーンズ オフィシャルサイト 「マリンフェスタ」特設サイト (in Japanese). Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  2. ^ YOUNGMAN, RANDY (July 23, 2011). "Perfect debut for La Quinta's Laird". Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Cleveland Indians 2005 Draft Results". Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Metz, Kevin (May 25, 2007). "Cypress got inspiration from a 4-legged friend". Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "Former Yankees INF Brandon Laird wins $10,000, year's worth of free beer with home run in Japan". Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Nalbone, John. "Thunder lose; Franklin ejected; Laird promoted". Nj.com. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Blog » Laird named Eastern League MVP, ROY". Blogs.thetimes-tribune.com. September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Yankees add three to 40-man roster". The LoHud Yankees Blog. November 19, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "Hurt corner: Pena to DL thins options at third". MLB.com. Major League Baseball. July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Stephenson, Colin (August 28, 2012). "Yankees' acquisition of Steve Pearce proves timely with injury to Mark Teixeira". The Star Ledger. NJ.com. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "Astros claim Laird from Yankees". MLB.com. September 1, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "Astros option infielder Wallace to Triple-A". April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  13. ^ McTaggert, Brian (October 2, 2013). "Astros add Singleton to 40-man roster". MLB.com. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  14. ^ de Jesus Ortiz, Jose (October 2, 2013). "Astros continue staff shakeup by making Tremley bench coach". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  15. ^ "Brandon Laird Statistics and History | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  16. ^ Kaegel, Dick (November 23, 2013). "Infielder Laird among five signed to Minor League deals". MLB.com. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  17. ^ Baer, Bill (March 16, 2014). "Nationals acquire infielder Brandon Laird from the Royals".
  18. ^ "Syracuse Chiefs' sizzling Brandon Laird named IL batter of the week". June 23, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  19. ^ Wild, Danny (December 10, 2014). "Difo, Souza, Giolito step up for Nationals". MILB.com. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  20. ^ "【レアード寿司】陽岱鋼も寿司を握ってHRを祝福!@札幌ドーム 2015.08.07 ファイターズの攻撃中の相手チームの投手交代時に流れるビーマニ風~レアードの打席前にビジョンに流れ".
  21. ^ "ONE World Sports :: Brandon Laird powers Nippon Ham Fighters". Archived from the original on October 12, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  22. ^ Coskrey, Jason (October 27, 2016). "Laird sends Fighters past Carp to tie Japan Series". The Japan Times. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  23. ^ "Former Yankee Laird leads Nippon Ham to Japan Series title". Associated Press. October 29, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  24. ^ "レアード内野手、日本ハム退団へ". Yahoo.co.jp (in Japanese). December 20, 2018. Archived from the original on December 21, 2018. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  25. ^ "ブランドン・レアード選手 獲得について". 千葉ロッテマリーンズ オフィシャルサイト (in Japanese). January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "Fighters' Brandon Laird still getting kick of out fans' excitement". May 2, 2018.