Katsuya Kakunaka played in his first exhibition game today after spending time working through issues with his right lower back. He got the start in left and batted clean-up against the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome. In the first inning, he banged hard into the outfield wall while making a leaping grab. He had difficulty getting up, but remained in the game for his first at bat. He was pulled on defense in the third inning.
Kakunaka later told reporters it felt like someone hit him from the inside and compared his condition to a strained back. He could make a visit to the hospital depending on how he feels tomorrow.
[UPDATE 3/31 @ 3:57pm]
Kakunaka played in a Ni-gun game against Nippon Ham on March 27, but was still not feeling well. He was assigned to Ni-gun after discussing his condition with the coaches on March 28. He played in another Ni-gun game on March 29, but still had problems.
Kakunaka was examined at a hospital on March 30 and was diagnosed with a compression fracture in his twelfth thoracic vertebra. He will need about five weeks for a full recovery.