Wladimir Balentien hits homers 56 and 57 to set new record in Japan
Japan has a new single-season home run king as former Mariner and Red Wladimir Balentien hit his 56th and 57th homers of the year on Sunday.
Former big leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 56th and 57th home runs of the season for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Sunday, setting a new single-season record in Japan. Here's video of the record-breaking blast:
Balentien then added a solo homer in the third inning. The previous record was 55 and had been done three times: Sadaharu Oh (1964), Tuffy Rhodes (2001) and Alex Cabrera (2002)..
Balentien, 29, went into Sunday's game hitting .336/.461/.804 with 55 home runs, 91 walks and 89 strikeouts in 112 games. He missed the first 12 games of this season with a leg injury. There are still 17 games left in the year, so Balentien has a very good chance at 60 homers and an outside chance at 70.
The Swallows signed Balentien to a new three-year, $7.5 million contract over the winter, so he won't be returning to MLB for at least another two years. He lead the league with 31 homers in each of his first two seasons in Japan.
League officials implemented a new ball this year -- controversially, as they did not inform the players until midway through the season -- that has led to an increase in homers overall.
Balentien hit .221/.281/.374 (74 OPS+) with 15 homers in 170 career MLB games with the Mariners and Reds from 2007-09.