...Bobby Valentine spent about an in the batting cages and tossed about 400 BP pitches. Now THAT'S dedication for you. The Marines are going to miss this guy when he leaves after the season.
Said Valentine, "I threw a lot of bad pitches. ... But when I threw decent pitches, they answered back with hits. I think things are moving along quite well."
...Darrell Rasner continues to impress Rakuten Eagles Manager Katsuya Nomura. In one inning of work earlier today against the Bay Stars, Rasner needed only 9 pitches to record three outs.
"I'm at about 70% right now. I still have more work to do before the season," said Rasner.
..."Mister" (Shigeo Nagashima) threw out the first pitch for the practice game between the Samurai Japan and the Yomiuri Giants earlier today. Nagashima also spent some time with Samurai Japan on the field prior to the start of the game.
...Tickets to the practice game at Sun Marine Stadium quickly ran out (the stadium can seat 30,000). Tickets were initially scheduled to be distributed from 8am, but due to the overwhelming number of people crowding around (about 10,000 eager fans), stadium officials decided to bump up the time up to 7am -- 15,000 tickets were handed out within 2 hours.
Apparently no one was expecting such a huge turn-out.
WBC Mania Sweeps Japan!
The number of police officers on-hand were also increased from 6 to 35 (including 4 plain-clothed officers).
In continuation of the above, 45,000 spectators (!) were on hand at the practice game.
...In prepartion for the WBC, the strike zone was expanded (based on MLB rules) for today's practice game. Kenji Johjima jokingly said, "We've got Japanese umpires going o the WBC too. Maybe they should use the Japanese strike zone for those games."
...Samurai Japan beat the Giants, 10-0. You can read my game notes over here.
...Tatsunori Hara said that he will work on paring down the current 33 members to the needed 28 after tomorrow's practice game.
...Training camp photos from February 21st (Sanspo).
...WBC training camp photos from February 21st (Sanspo).