Ex-Yankee Darrell Rasner has joined up with his new team in Japan. Rasner said, "I'm grateful for this chance to play in Japan. And I'm really excited about the upcoming season. I've been a starter pretty much my entire career, but I wouldn't mind taking on other roles as well. I'll do whatever is best for the team."
The Eagles are currently hoping for Rasner to become their number three pitcher in the rotation behind Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka.
Prior to arriving in Japan, Rasner apparently approached Hideki Matsui and Kei Igawa on information about Japanese baseball and his new manager, Katsuya Nomura.
Rasner added: "I've heard a lot about Katsuya Nomura and his success as both a manager and player. ... I also heard a lot about how Japanese baseball focuses on small ball. I also understand that Japanese people focus a lot harder on baseball and practice much longer. I'm not too concerned. I'm looking forward to it."
Rasner posing for the cameras at his press conference
Shaking hands with his new manager
...Yu Darvish tossed 120 pitches in his third bullpen session yesterday. He's currently working on a new pitch: a forkball.
...Bat tossing? That's exactly what Aarom Baldiris (Hanshin Tigers) was doing after BP yesterday. Batting coach Yutaka Wada took Baldiris out near third and had him release his grip on the bat midway through his swing. Said Wada, "It's one way to work on a player's follow-through. ... I noticed he was opening up too quickly, creating an unwanted spin on batted balls. I'd like to try this practice method a few more times to see if it helps."
They apparently did this exercise for about 10 minutes.
Looking, up in the sky, it's a bird! No, a plane! No, it's a BAT!
Heads up out there!