Roberto Roilan Portuondo: “The goal this season is to earn a contract with Nippon League.”

Roberto Roilan Portuondo made his debut in the Baseball Challenge League with the Shinano Grandserows in their 6-5 win against the Saitama Mushashi HeatBears a few days ago. The righty from Guantánamo, Cuba tossed six innings where he allowed four runs via six hits and fanned four. Portuondo’s fastball topped out at 96 Mph on the day, which was astonishing considering the weather.

Although he did not factor in the decision he showed an electric repertoire in spite of being uncomfortable due the extreme cold, something that he is not accustomed to dealing with.

The 24 year old Portuondo has all the ability to make an impact in Japan and reach his goal of signing with a Nippon League ball club, all he has to do is exhibit his immense talent on the mound. If he does that everything else should fall into place. The young hurler is represented by Carlos Pérez of Leona Sports.

What is your goal in Japan this season?

The goal this season in Japan is firstly to focus on going out to give my best in every game. Also to do my job, which is the most important thing. And my other goal is to earn a contract with Nippon League, we are working on that one a we speak.

You looked a bit uncomfortable on your first outing, what factors contributed to that discomfort?

At the start of the game I felt a bit uncomfortable due to the cold. The weather greatly influenced my comfort level, it was pretty nippy out there on that day. I felt discomfort a little when gripping the ball, because my hand felt icy and then some balls got away from because of that, but little by little we are going to adapt to the climate here.

What adjustments will you have to make to get used to the level of the league?

The level of talent in this league is quite high, and the main adjustment I need to make is to adapt to the cold. Once I do that, it will reduce the amount of walks that I hand out and allow me to show my talents. I’m not a wild pitcher, I have improved my control a lot. That’s why I said earlier that the cold had a lot of influence on my wildness in my last start.

Tell me about the importance of your next outing.

I will pitching against an NPB minor league team in my next outing. I have to go out and give my all and show that they made the right choice by signing me. I will need put up more zeros and strike more batters.

Have any NPB teams seen you pitch yet?

Yes, some NPB teams have seen me and they are very interested. For now we are working on going out and giving our best performance on the mound. That should spark their interest. I am going to go out everyday and giving my best, that should definitely be enough.

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