Takahiro Arai is making a move to third. Tigers manager Akinobu Mayumi announced that he intends to play Arai at third and Kentaro Sekimoto at first. Sekimoto could also make a move to second if things don't work out at first.
What's strange here is that Arai is coming off a pretty good defensive year at first (he even won a Golden Glove). It seems like it would make more sense to keep him at third and try Sekimoto over at third (he played 93 games over there last season).
...Hanshin Tigers pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi likes the 15-second rule and thinks that his pitchers won't have any problems. "Watching the bullpen sessions, I'm not really expecting any major problems with our pitchers. ... We have to think positively about this new rule. Last season, [Minoru] Iwata sped up his tempo and ended up doing better for us."
Yamaguchi seems to think that giving pitchers too much time on the mound might actually end up causing more problems because it gives them time to think.
...Atsuya Furuta will be dropping by the Rakuten Eagles' training grounds on Friday this week. And with his arrival comes rumors of his possible future as manager of the Eagles.
His actual purpose for visiting Eagles' camp is to interview Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka in preparation for his TV analyst job during the WBC.
Said Katsuya Nomura in response to Furuta visiting, "What's he doing coming here? Is he actually going to show his face to me? ... I wonder who the next Rakuten manager will be. I've heard Furuta is trying to sell himself [to the Eagles]. I also heard he approached the Softbank Hawks, but the owner (Masayoshi Son) said he was planning to hire Koji Akiyama and didn't meet with him."
Incidentally, Rakuten brass are also set to make the rounds on Friday as well. Coincidence? Perhaps...
...Ryuhei Matsuyama (Hiroshima Carp) injured his left thigh during base running practice. A visit to the hospital revealed a slight tear in the muscle. He'll be out of action for at least 4 weeks.
...Sho Nakata (Ham Fighters) hit a home run in his first practice game at bat yestersday. He drilled the ball 140m (459ft).
"I've been doing well in BP lately and I think my form is pretty good. I even hit a home run on my birthday. I definitely have somethig here," said Nakata.
A scout for the Eagles said, "Looks like he's toned up a bit. And he's hitting the mistake pitches pretty hard. If he hits, I think his defense will fall into place."
...Training camp photos from February 10th.