Sanspo is reporting that the Orix Buffaloes have signed Jose Fernandez to a 1-year deal worth 100M yen plus bonuses.
It appears as though the Sports Hochi article I mentioned the other day about Ryoji Aikawa joining the Swallows was a bit premature. Sanspo is now reporting that the Swallows and Aikawa will meet for the first time on the 16th. It does, however, appear as though Aikawa is interested in sigining the Swallows.
WBC Manager Tatsunori Hara is disappointed that Takashi Saito decided to skip the WBC.
NikkanSports has reprinted an interview with Kenshin Kawakami (I think these may have been asked during his introduction to the media):
What was your impression of the stadium?
It's great. Nagoya Dome has turf so a change to natural grass is nice.
Do you feel added pressure because Smoltz left?
Smoltz is just a great player, so I can't really say with confidence that I can replace him, but my goal is to work as hard as possible to help the team in any way that I can.
My slow curve and cutter. I don't want my emotions to get the better of me. This kanji character represents how I would like to play this season. (The kanji character is 魂, which means spirit.)
Do you have any specific numbers you'd like to reach, i.e. wins, ERAs?
Numbers only add extra pressure. So more than numbers my goal is to just stay in the rotation for the full season.
Do you have any worries or concerns about pitching every 5th day?
I don't think it's about getting used to it. I think if there's a limit on my pitch count, I'll be alright.
What did you eat at The Varsity?
A cheeseburger and hotdog.
NikkanSports has also posted up a brief interview with Koji Uehara (again, I think these were asked during his introduction):
How was your day today?
My second life of baseball is begining today. Things are just getting started. That's the kind of day it was today.
Why did you pick the Orioles?
The Orioles showed interest in me the minute I was able to start negotiating.
How is your English going?
I think if I string words together and seek out people to talk to, even if my sentences don't make much sense, as long as I don't give up, I think I'll be alright.
I look forward to pitching against my old Giants teammate, Hideki Matsui. It'll be the first time we face each other under these circumstances. That should be a lot of fun.
The Orioles are in a tough division.
That just makes it all the more worthwhile. It'll just make me want to rise to the challenge. I look forward to it. I'm feeling the same way I did 10 years ago when I got started at college.