...Ryoji Aikawa raved about Yoshinori Sato after catching his bullpen session yesterday. Said Aikawa, "He wasn't quite in sych, but he still managed to toss some really impressive pitches. I need to make sure I don't take away from his character."
With a number of young pitchers on the staff, the Swallows hope Aikawa will be able to lead them through tough situations.
...After finishing basic training yesterday, Nobuhiko Matsunaka spent about an hour taking 160 swings in bp and drilled 40 over the fence. Matsunaka is ramping things up for the start of Samurai Japan training camp on the 15th. He's also trying to set an example for the youngster: "My performance now is only showing just how hard I worked by myself before the start of camp. I want to show the youngsters that it pays to work hard."
...After throwing 125 pitches in his first official bullpen session on the first day of camp, Yu Darvish reports no tightness in the shoulder. He does, however, feel a little tightness in his lower body. He spent most of yesterday doing sprints and fielding exercises.
...Hisashi Iwakuma was slated to throw only 40 pitches during his bullpen session, but ended tossing 100. "Midway through the session, I felt like I switched into a higher gear. It's warm [here] so my body can move freely and I feel like I'm getting on a nice rhythm," said Iwakuma.
...Ichiro in center during the WBC, most likely means Norichika Aoki shifting to shifting to left. In preparation for that, Aoki spent some time in left field during yesterday's fielding session. "From the left fielder's point of view, third base seems really close and that sort of throws me off, but I think if I practice enough I'll be alright," said Aoki.
He continued, "Gauging distance is the hardest part. The view is completely different so I need to be mindful of that."
Aoki taking balls in left field
Aoki signing some autographs