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WBC: Matsuzaka probably won’t appear in any exhibition games; and other news…

by on Mar.12, 2009 @ 11:54 am, under WBC

...Munenori Kawasaki has become something of a "super sub" and lead cheerleader for Samurai Japan. He's usually the first player off the bench to great players as they walk back to the dugout and he's always moving around in the dugout in case he gets called on as a replacement. Even during fielding practice, he'll often move out of position to take grounders at third. This is what makes him such an important part of the team.

...Roughly 12,000 tickets were sold for the exhibition game between Japan and the San Francisco Giants. About 6,000 of those tickets were apparently sold over a 2-3 day period prior to the game.

...Samurai Japan was planning on giving Daisuke Matsuzaka a couple of inning during an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs, but decided against it. The Boston Red Sox informed Japan that if Matsuzaka makes an appearance against the Cubs on the 12th, he won't be allowed to pitch on the 15th. There was some talk about Darvish making the start on the 15th, but without knowing who their opponent is yet, Japan appears to want to take things one step at a time.

...It was nice to hear that Norichika Aoki picked up 3 hits and a walk in 5 trips to the plate against the San Francisco Giants. I'm hoping he'll be able to carry the forward momentum into the second round. Ichiro getting on base in 2 out of his 4 plate appearances is also good news. The top of the lineup really needs to do whatever it can to get on base and set the tables for the middle of the order.

...About 40 members of Samurai Japan (including Hara, the coaches, and players) went to a famous steak house after practice to hold a team meeting.

"Our goal is win the WBC. We still have 4 more days until the second round so I want everyone to relax and have a nice time until then. There's no need for any experimentation at this point."

...Ichiro Suzuki on being in Scottsdale, Arizona and playing a game against the San Francisco Giants:

Lincecum made some pretty good pitches, but we're in Arizona so it really doesn't matter (refering to the different climates). Today was just a day for gettting over jet lag.