Masataka Yoshida’s offseason surgery provides clarity for 2023 second-half struggles

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
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Last offseason, the Boston Red Sox signed Masataka Yoshida to bring an experienced, consistent bat to the lineup. Yoshida's 2023 production saw many ups and downs, but he struggled quite a bit after the All-Star break.

Yoshida didn't have a visible injury or visible cause to attribute his struggles, but a recent revelation suggests he did indeed suffer from an ailment at the end of last season.

The 30-year-old has dealt with temporomandibular joint disorder, which was exacerbated due to the stress of travel throughout his MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball careers. Yoshida reported through a translator that his jaw would often cause him headaches and it would tremble or dislocate as a result of his condition.

Yoshida underwent surgery this offseason to repair the jaw issues. The Red Sox's new designated hitter has already played in spring training games this offseason so his recovery has concluded and he's not slated to miss any time.

Red Sox's OF/DH Masataka Yoshida underwent jaw surgery this offseason

Yoshida's surgery could help him maintain his first-half production and replicate his stardom in Japan. His eye was highly praised during his time playing in NBP and he's known for rarely striking out. Red Sox Nation saw some of Yoshida's capabilities — he batted .289 all last season, still a great number — but possibly not all he can do.

The veteran attributed part of his second-half decline in production to his temporomandibular joint disorder. Yoshida got off to a hot start in a Red Sox uniform, as many fans expected — he batted .316 with 10 home runs, 44 RBI and an .874 OPS. After the All-Star break, he stalled to a .254 batting average with five homers and 28 RBI, which is, unfortunately, the Yoshida many fans remember from last season.

All along, Boston fans never saw a fully healthy Yoshida. Along with acclimating to another league, new players, new coaches and a new language, Yoshida was dealing with this condition that clearly affected his play.

Yoshida's jaw surgery served mostly to provide him comfort in his everyday life. Hopefully, his overall comfort helps his plate production and Yoshida is finally able to show Red Sox fans his true capabilities this coming season.

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