Masataka Nashida, manager of the Ham Fighters, is telling Yu Darvish to forget about the 15-second rule and simply pitch as he normally does.
"If you worry too much about the 15-second rule, you'll never be able to shake off pitches. He needs to be able to throw the pitches he wants to. If the umpire calls a ball because of that, so what," said Nashida.
...The Yakult Swallows have their eyes on 16-year-old high school pitching prospect, John Clayton. His training grounds are located about 5 minutes away from Yakult training grains and the Swallows are taking advantage of this.
A scout for the Swallows, Keiichi Sakai, has observed Clayton practicing and said, "He's got a balanced form and good control. He has good action in his body and I'm really looking forward to his development."
Clayton can throw a 146km/h fastball and runs the 50m in 6.1 seconds.
...Bobby Valentine promised to provide whatever support he can to help Japan win consecutive WBC Championships. Said Valentine, "If they need some information on US players, I'll give them whatever I have. I just want to help out."
...Yuuki Saito will be wearing the number 11 for Waseda University this season. Incidentally, the number 11 has generally been reserved for the staff ace.
...Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara headed off to their respective training grounds in the States and left their comments.
Kawakami: "I'm feeling a little home sick for Japan and a little unease [about the transition]. ... The last thing I want to do is quit. I'm going to make whatever adjustments I need to and make sure I'm ready for camp."
Uehara: "It's a long trip [to Ft. Lauderdale]. It's February and it feels a little strange that I'm not in Miyazaki with the Giants."
...The "Seibu Dome" name will most likely remain the Seibu Dome in 2009. Seibu management has not been able to find a willing (and appropriate) partner to sell Seibu Dome's naming rights to.
"If there's was a deserving company... But we're in a tough economic crisis right now. I have a feeling the Seibu Dome name will remain as is this year," said team owner Takashi Gotoh.
...Atsuya Furuta dropped by Seibu Lions camp today and apparently caught a few pitchers in the bullpen.
...The future of the Nissan baseball team is unknown. Citing financial reasons as the cause, the Nissan baseball team has been informed that operations will be shut down at the end of December.
The Nissan track & field team and ping pong team have also been given their notices -- both will remain in operation until the end of March.