Marcelo Arai

From BR Bullpen

Marcelo Kaneo Arai

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 143 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Marcelo Arai has pitched for Brazil in major events in three decades. In the 2006 COPABE qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics, he was 0-1, allowing four runs in four innings. In the 2007 Pan American Games, Arai allowed only two runs in six innings against a strong Team USA but still took the loss. Arai was nearing completion of a degree in veterinary medicine.

Arai was Brazil's top hurler in the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup, outperforming US pros Heitor Correa, Gilmar Pereira and Jô Matumoto. He went 0-1 with a save and a 2.08 ERA, striking out 12 in 8 2/3 IP. He was with Brazil for a Bronze Medal in the 2011 South American Championship and a Silver Medal in the 2018 South American Championship (he did not appear in the 2018 event). He was on Brazil's roster in the 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers when that was one of the first baseball events to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the time the 2022 South American Championship, he was Brazil's second-oldest player, after former Reds farmhand Tiago Magalhães. Arai's first appearance of the tournament came when he relieved Igor Kimura in the 3rd with a 3-2 lead over Ecuador, the bases loaded and one out. He allowed a two-run single to Orlando Leon as Ecuador took the lead but then struck out Brian Letamendi and Roberto Ruiz to escape further harm. He threw shutout ball over the next three innings before Igor Januário took over. He got the win over Damián Villanueva as Brazil rallied. He then got the start in the semifinals, also against Ecuador. He was even better that day, retired the first 20 batters. With one out to go for a perfect game (WBSC rules had made most international contests 7-inning affairs), Gustavo Landin hit into an error by Pedro Okuda. He then retired former Tigers signee Samuel Felman to end the gem. Brazil would then win the championship behind another pitching gem, a two-hitter by André Rienzo. Arai tied Leon for the tourney lead with two wins, tied Federico Robles and Juan Borras for 4th in K (8), led in IP (1 1/3 ahead of Leon) and led in ERA. He was named the MVP.

Sources include Brazil Pan American Games bios, 2022 South American Championship MVP