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WBC: Matsuzaka’s appearance pushed back a day; and other news and notes

by on Mar.11, 2009 @ 7:05 am, under WBC

...Daisuke Matsuzaka was originally set to pitch 2 innings against the San Francisco Giants on the 11th, but due to WBC rules, he is not allowed to pitch until the following day (apparently there was a mix-up due to the time zone differences). Matsuzaka is now slated to make his appearance against the Chicago Cubs on the 12th.

...The first day of practice in the US for Samurai Japan was fairly light. They practiced for about 2 hours and most of it centered around free batting practice. The pitchers didn't do any tossing and focused on running and fielding practice.

...Samurai Japan members checked into their hotels in Scottsdale, Arizona around 8pm on the 9th. There was no team meeting and players were allowed to go out on their own. While most players stayed in due to jet lag, Kosuke Fukudome and Norichika Aoki went out for food. 8 other players, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Shuichi Murata also stepped out after getting settled in.

...Ichiro Suzuki did not go to Arizona with the team and instead flew back to his home in Seattle. He did the same during the first WBC and even invited several team mates (Munenori Kawasaki and Toshiaki Imae) to stay with him.

...There are plans to create a Japanese flag using people in the stands wearing red or white t-shirts at Pecto Park. A group of Japanese student studying in the San Deigo region have already secured 200 tickets for each of the game at the stadium, specifically for this purpose.

...There is some concern about Samurai Japan player's playing on natural grass, as many of them are used to playing on turf. Hiroyuki Nakajima isn't too worried though. Said Nakajima, "I talked to Iwamura and he said just to play things out like normal. It might be easier than on turf."

...Yasuyuki Kataoka is having a great time as a Samurai Japan member. He was especially thrilled about riding in a charter plane to the United States, something most Japanese players never get a chance to experience. Kataoka was also surprised at the large number of media waiting at the hotel the team is staying at.

...Nomura Quotes:
On the game against Korea
Korea has some good pitchers. Right now, Korea is a stronger team. The position players look strong. Must be Kim Chee power. Losing after winning a game by a large margin isn't anything new. The Dominican Repulic looks good too. Japan can't win against anyone anymore.

Iwakuma is pitching well. On Japan advancing to the next round
I don't know. I think winning it all is going to be really tough. Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the US... They're all strong. And you know the US isn't just going to sit around quietly.

On Ichiro being the key
He's only human so his troubles right now can't be helped. Maybe he's a little tired. I mean, he practiced in Kobe on a day off. He's at an age where rest is just as important.

Incidentally, this is supposed to be a show of "tough love" from Nomura.