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NPB: Matsuzaka tosses 106 pitches in WBC bullpen session?! And more…

by on Feb.21, 2009 @ 11:54 am, under WBC

...Rakuten Eagles 2008 1st round draft pick Hiromichi Fujiwara will be taken to a hospital on the 25th to run some tests on his left shoulder. Why they are waiting until the then, I have no idea.

...With Kazuhiro Kiyohara retiring, Tuffy Rhodes becomes the oldest (and most experienced) player on the Buffaloes' roster.

"I need to step up and become a leader for this team. My rank has gone up. It's my turn," said Rhodes. Buffaloes manager Daijiro Ohishi added, "He does what he's asked and does what he's supposed to do. He's a great player to have on the team."

...WBC practice games on the 20th and 21st against the Giants will start from 1pm at Sun Marine Stadium.

...Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed 106 pitches in his latest bullpen session. For the first time during WBC training camp, Matsuzaka was able to throw until he was satisfied with his session. Throw in his long throw practice and Matsuzaka probably threw close to 200 pitches.

The article mentions a "70 pitch per day, no consecutive days" limit imposed by the Red Sox, but doesn't exactly explain how, or when, that was lifted. It almost sounds like Matsuzaka just made up his own mind to let loose. Might this cause a bit of a ruckus in Boston?

"Problems can't be addressed unless you practice a lot. I really wanted to throw more pitches," said Matsuzaka after his session.

Incidentally, this is the first time he has thrown so much this early in the season since joining the Red Sox.

...Nobuhiko Matsunaka and Kenta Kurihara are two naming currently being floated as possible players that won't make the final cut. Both players are nursing injuries and don't fit into Hara's conditioning concept.

...Ichiro Suzuki was giving hitting tips to Norichika Aoki during his BP sessions yesterday. When Aoki was asked why kinds of things Ichiro told him, he simply replied, "Industry secrets."

Ichiro giving Aoki some hitting tips

...Masahiro Tanaka has a good shot of making the final cut as a middle reliever. He tossed 59 pitches in a bullpen session with Kenji Johjima behind the plate.

...Sadaharu Oh will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the game on the 5th (Japan vs China). Isao Harimoto will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the game on the 6th (Taiwan vs Korea).

...The Asahi Beverage "2009 WBC Tokyo Round Special Exhibit" booth opened up at Maru Building on the 20th. Memorabilia from the 2006 WBC are on display at the booth. The exhibition is open daily, 10am-8pm, until March 2nd.

2009 WBC Tokyo Round Special Exhibit presented by Asahi Beverage

...Hiroyuki Nakjima is changing things up a little -- he re-dyed his hair to black during his off-day on the 19th.

11 comments on “NPB: Matsuzaka tosses 106 pitches in WBC bullpen session?! And more…

  1. knucklehead7 Post author

    It will be interesting to see if anything develops from the Matsuzaka story.

    That would be pretty neat if that poster at the exhibit was made available. It’s pretty sharp looking.

  2. Gwynar Post author

    I’m going to see if I can hit the exhibit tomorrow. If I go, I’ll see if they have any posters on sale.

  3. emath Post author

    I really like Ichiro… Not that that pic, or the story are saying anything unusual (players help players all the time), and I am not too sure about the player he is talking to (without looking him up yet), but for some reason, that part made me smile… I love when a long time veteran, and super star helps out a younger guy…

  4. emath Post author

    Not a HUGE home run hitter (I thought he was a 2nd basemen just based on his offensive numbers, til I looked at his position), but he looks like a fine ball player.

    By the way, I just looked at Darvish’s numbers… What a stud…

  5. emath Post author

    Another note: Tuffy Rhodes would be going for 500 home runs right now (this coming season) if he didn’t try to go back to Cincy in 2006.

    How does he rate in Japan these days? What do people think of him? Where is his place in NPB history, especially if he reaches 500 in the next couple of years?

  6. Gwynar Post author

    From what I can tell, Tuffy has gained a lot of respect from both players and fans. And I think the fact that he’s one of only three foreigners to gain Japanese player status (meaning he no longer takes up a “foreigner” spot on rosters) speaks volumes of his relationship with the NPB.

  7. knucklehead7 Post author

    I think I asked you this before, but Rhodes is most likely the best foreign player of all-time, no?

    1. Gwynar Post author

      He probably is. I think you could also make an argument for Alex Ramirez as well.


      Rhodes – 40 years old / 12 seasons
      1590 G, 5979 AB, 1059 R, 1701 H, 442 HR, 1207 RBI, 914 BB, 1581 SO

      1.07 H/G, 3.6 G/HR, .57 BB/G, .99 SO/G

      Ramirez – 34 years old / 8 seasons
      1126 G, 4482 AB, 622 R, 1359 H, 256 HR, 877 RBI, 210 BB, 921 SO

      1.21 H/G, 4.4 G/HR, .19 BB/G, .82 SO/G


      It’s interesting, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say there are more Ramirez fans that Tuffy fans (I could be wrong though). Some of that might have to do with the markets the two players play in, but remember, Rhodes spent 2 seasons with the Giants.

      I think the big difference are their appearances in public. Ramirez does a lot more to spark the interest of fans (like his little home run jig he does in front of the camera before heading back into the dugout) and I think he’s done a lot to create this image of a friendly, happy-go-lucky type of player. Rhodes, on the other hand, seems a little introverted.

  8. emath Post author

    Yeah, I thought it was cool to hear he is no longer considered a foreign player.

    He will always have a special place in my heart from his time as a Cub, and his 3 consecutive opening day home runs off of Gooden back in 1994.

    I hope he hits 40 more this year, and gets within 20 for the next season… And hopefully he gets 500. Considering his late start (all the years over here), and missing 2006, think what he could have done…

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