Kikuchi’s collision with Athletics player has Jays’ pitcher going viral

WATCH: Toronto Blue Jays Yusei Kikuchi collides with Oakland Athletics player in bizarre and wild play

Yusei Kikuchi might be a pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays.

But after Sunday’s bizarre collision with Oakland Athletics first baseman Tyler Soderstrom, members of the Jays’ social media community think the Japanese left-hander could be a bruiser in another sport.

Kikuchi cost his team an out by bolting from the dugout and colliding with Soderstrom in the 10th inning of Sunday’s game against Oakland.

With the Blue Jays leading 6-3 in the top of the 10th, Davis Schneider lofted a popup into foul territory near Toronto’s dugout. Blue Jays players watching from in front of the bench scattered as Soderstrom pursued the ball.

“Every time you watch a baseball game, you can see something you’ve never seen before,” wrote baseball columnist Mike Wilner in a post on X Sunday, formerly known as Twitter.

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“Today, it was #Bluejays Yusei Kikuchi dropping Tyler Soderstrom like a bad habit as #Athletics 1B closed in on a Davis Schneider foul pop-up.”

Oakland Athletics first baseman Tyler Soderstrom, left, reacts after colliding with Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, right, while trying to catch a ball in foul territory hit by Davis Schneider during the 10th inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., on June 9, 2024. Schneider was ruled out on the play. Jeff Chiu/AP

Kikuchi attempted to get out of the way quickly, but crashed right into Soderstrom. Both players were knocked down as the ball fell to the ground. Soderstrom held out both hands after putting his cap back on, and Kikuchi held out his hand as if to apologize.

The umpires got together and ruled Schneider out due to obstruction on a red-faced Kikuchi, the second out of the inning.

“Obviously, I was embarrassed out there,” Kikuchi said through a translator.

“It’s probably going viral right now. … I feel bad and I want to apologize.”

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‘God bless Bo Bichette’: Blue Jays fan hit by ball takes it all in stride

Oakland’s Coliseum is the only major league stadium that doesn’t have railings in front of its dugouts.

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“I kind of realized last minute that the dugout in Oakland doesn’t have a fence,” Kikuchi said.

“I just realized a little too late there. … I just wanted to create a little hole and hide inside it because I was a little embarrassed.”

Toronto manager John Schneider conceded Soderstrom probably would have caught the ball, but the Blue Jays ended up defeating the A’s 6-4 in 10 innings.

“I was just running for the ball,” Soderstrom said afterward.

“Obviously, a lot of foul territory here. Just trying to make a play on the ball and kind of last second, tried to make a move to my left, and there was Kikuchi.”

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Regardless, the Jays community is cherishing the moment on social media.

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“Yusei Kikuchi is READY for the NFL season,” wrote @BlueJays_Muse on X.

“Yusei Kikuchi taking absolutely no prisoners,” said @ETreuden.

“Kuch knew what he was doing. He drops his shoulder and hammers. We love you Kikuchi!!,” said @DevonESawa.

— with files from The Associated Press

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