...Samurai Japan members flew into San Diego on the 13th in preparation for the second round. The 13th was an off-day. The team will hold practice at Petco Park on the 14th. And of course, the second round for Japan begins on the 15th against Cuba.
...Hiroyuki Nakajima was not in the lineup against the Cubs due to a fever. Coach Tsutomu Itoh said, "He had 98.6 degree fever. He wasn't feeling that well yesterday either. We still have a couple of days so I told him to rest and get better. I think he'll be alright."
...Shuichi Murata is having a bit of a tough time adjusting to some of the pitches foreigners are throwing him. Said Murata, "I'm having a little difficulty with the fastball. Even when I've got my timing down, I end up fouling them off. ... [So Taguchi told me that I should] be a little more picky at the plate and that I need to focus on a smaller zone and not swing at anything outside of that area."
...Japan may start Munenori Kawasaki at third in the 9 hole with Shuichi Murata as the DH in the 4 hole on Sunday against Cuba. Kawasaki has had some success (small sample of course) against Cuba and the added speed he provides may give the lineup a little boost.
...It seems like there is some concern in Japan about Cuba's sportsmanship. During their game against Australia, the starting line-up they handed to manager Jon Deeble (Australia) and the starting line-up they handed to the umps, were apparently different.
Velez calmly rejected the statements made by his rival manager, Jon Deeble, who said the Cuban was a little unethical for changing the line-up without informing him, something that is not usually done.
Whether or not stuff like this will actually have any impact on the Japan/Cuba game, I have no idea, but I thought it might be worth mentioning.
...There was a fan in the stands at the Japan/Cubs game wearing a cubs uniform with the letters FUKMEDOU on it. It looks to me like it was done intentionally.
"A mistake? Or done on purpose? If the latter, then maybe it's an abbreviation on the word censored word F***, a word we shouldn't even say..."
Will the jokes on Fukudome's name ever end?