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NPB Roundup 1/10: Kawakami, Uehara, and Aikawa headlines

by on Jan.10, 2009 @ 6:21 am, under NPB

Probably don't need me to post any more on it, but Nikkan Sports is reporting that Kenshin Kawakami is set to meet with Atlanta Braves officials to talk over the final contract details on the 11th. If everything goes smoothly, Kawakami may go in for a medical check-up as early as the 12th.


Koji Uehara will be flying into Baltimore on the 11th for a medical check-up. Assuming nothing is wrong, the Orioles should be making an official announcement of his signing shortly thereafter. Sponichi is reporting something slightly differently: Uehara will arrive in Baltimore on the 11th, undergo a medical check-up on the 12th, and then be announced as an official Oriole on the 14th.

Bobby Valentine has also apparently gone on record to say that he thinks Uehara will do just fine in the Majors. He also thinks that close to 80% of Japan doesn't know a thing about the Orioles. He's probably right about.


Masahide Kobayashi is training in Saitama at the Lotte Urawa Stadium. This will be his second season in the Majors and his main focus is to "win the World Series. That's it. There's nothing else." Kobayashi plans on starting his throwing program on the 15th.


On why Tatsunori Hara chose the number 83 for his WBC uniform: "I can't split things 50-50. I want to fight for the Giants and the WBC team with 100% of my efforts. That is why my uniform number is 88 for the Giants and 83 for the WBC: to allow me the space to switch."


Masahiro Tanaka gives Eri Yoshida some advice: "It's very important to know who you are and what you stand for. You should never let your opponent beat you in your spirits."


Nippon Ham Fighters Tomochika Tsuboi is training with... Bob Sapp? The two also spent about an hour in the ring practicing punches and kicks.


The Yakult Swallows are still holding out hope that they'll have a chance to sit down and talk to Ryoji Aikawa. The two sides are supposed to get in touch with each other on the 15th to set a date for initial talks. While there's still no word on what's happening, the Swallows are getting a little worried about their chances of signing the 32-year old catcher. "For him to leave Japan at this time of year... Maybe he has an offer from the Majors. It might be difficult to sign him now." Aikawa left to train in Hawaii on the 8th.

0 comments on “NPB Roundup 1/10: Kawakami, Uehara, and Aikawa headlines

  1. knucklehead7

    Just out of curiosity Gen, do you think that Ripken’s streak got any play in the media over in Japan? I remember that Sachio Kinugasa came over to the States when Ripken broke his record. I know you weren’t living there at the time, and it’s been well over a decade, but I’m just wondering if you think he would be recognizable there.

  2. Gwynar

    To be entirely honest, I’m really not sure how well-known Ripken is in Japan. I think people who follow the MLB have probably heard his name. And the fact that his last season also overlapped with Ichiro’s first season means that more than a few probably saw him play a couple of times during the regular season. Whether or not his last game was televised, I’m not sure.

    That said, if he were walking down the street in Japan, I have a feeling no one would recognize him.

  3. knucklehead7

    Thanks for the insight Gen. I guess the Orioles will be a bit more recognizable now over there with Uehara. The organization as a whole is in better shape that it was before MacPhail got there.

  4. Gwynar

    The Orioles will definitely get a lot more coverage now. And I think Uehara probably has a slightly larger following than Kawakami, if only because of his career with the Giants.