...Taishi Ohta appears to have hit a bit of a wall. He was held hitless in four trips to the plate (K, ground out, fly out, ground out) in a practice game against NTT Nishi Nihon yesterday. Ohta is now 0-for-10 with 4 strikes out in his last 3 practice games.
...Yokohama Bay Stars Keijiro Matsumoto (2008 1st round draft pick) was struck in the left foot during a practice game against LG (a Korean pro team) yesterday. He left the game and is listed as day-to-day.
"It brushed up near his Achilles tendon. We'll get it iced and see how things are. If things don't improve, we'll take him to the doctors tomorrow," said the team trainer.
...Hanshin Tigers Tomoyuki Kubota is still practicing with the Ni-gun squad as he works his way back from inflammation in his right shoulder.
"We'll let him take his time. Right now, I don't think he'll be ready for Opening Day. ... When he does return to Ichi-gun, it will be as a starter in the rotation," said Tigers' manager Akinobu Mayumi.
...Katsuya Nomura prepared a pitching machine with a picture of Yu Darvish taped to it for inspiration (the Eagles haven't had much luck with Darvish in the past). Gotta love Nomura!
Nomura and his Darvish Machine...
The Darvish Machine in action...
...Samurai Japan had the day off yesterday. Practice games have been schedules for the 21st and 22nd. These two games will most likely be key games for players on the cusp -- 2 pitchers and 3 position players won't make the final roster.
Some players rumored to be in trouble? Pitchers Takayuki Kishi and Tetsuya Utsumi could be cut; catchers Shinnosuke Abe and Toru Hosokawa are both recovering from injuries; Kenta Kurihara is coming off right elbow surgery; and Nobuhiko Matsunaka is suffering from foot sores.
...Despite having the day off yesterday, Ichiro Suzuki went to Kobe Skymark Stadium for some along time and batting practice.
...The NPB has announced that parking areas within Miyazaki Sports Park will be closed during the Giants vs Samurai Japan games (21, 22) at Sun Marine Stadium in order to control potential traffic jams around the area. People who are planning to drive to the stadium are advised to make other arrangements for parking (Miyazaki Tourism).