Akiyama's wife 'better now' following scare

March 4th, 2021

Outfielder returned to Reds camp in Goodyear, Ariz., on Thursday after missing a week of workouts for personal reasons. Akiyama revealed that he went to Cincinnati to be with his wife after she was seriously injured in an accident.

Akiyama’s wife, Ayaka, was walking in the park at Sharon Woods outside of Cincinnati on Feb. 25 when she was struck by a falling tree and hospitalized. He said she would be OK.

“She’s better now. But she has some serious injuries here and there,” Akiyama said via translator Luke Shinoda.

According to multiple news reports, Ayaka Akiyama was struck in the head while walking on the park trail and was bleeding. She was transported by a medical helicopter to a local hospital.

"If you walk about a half-mile down the trail, a huge 30-inch tree just fell on a pedestrian and she needs an ambulance," a 911 caller said, as reported by WLWT-TV. "It just fell over out of nowhere right in the middle of the path."

Reds teammates were relieved when Akiyama returned to camp knowing his wife would recover.

“When we first heard it, I know I was very concerned. Everyone was concerned,” Reds reliever Lucas Sims said. “We were making sure that she was all right, and that Shogo was OK. I mean, we care about each other. That extension of wanting to make sure that he’s OK -- that’s bigger than baseball. Being able to see him today, it made us all happy and glad to know that she’s doing all right. Hopefully, everything gets back to normal.”

Reds manager David Bell told Akiyama that he would play in his first Cactus League game on Sunday vs. the Giants.

Akiyama was able to work out while away but was unable to do any hitting or fielding.

“I was preparing in Cincinnati as well while waiting for my intake testing here,” Akiyama said. “I’m not sure if I will be able to produce results from the beginning, but I just need to prepare for Sunday for now.

“With the week that I was gone, I was in the hospital with her, I was spending time with kids. I think it was the inevitable time that I needed with this week away. I know the only way I can get back to them is by producing results, so I just need to work hard from here on.”

Heading into his second season with Cincinnati after he signed a three-year, $21 million contract last year, Akiyama noted it was difficult watching teammates play games on television in his absence.

“But I know with the time we have until Opening Day, I will be ready enough,” Akiyama said.