...Kevin Mench didn't accompany the team to Takamatsu on Friday for a game against the Hiroshima Carp. He will rejoin the team again after that.
Said Mench on Thursday, "I'll be spending the day practicing tomorrow. I won't be going to Takamatsu but I'll be playing in the 2 games after that."
...Yuya Ando was hit by a batted ball on Friday while pitching against the Hiroshima Carp; the batted ball hit Ando in the left ankle area. He was removed from the game after that, but not before also giving up 5 runs (all earned) on 5 hits and a walk over 2 innings of work.
...Shigeno Shima is 0-for-21 so far this spring. He spent 45 minutes working with team batting coach Junzo Uchida in the batting cage taking apart his swing.
Said Uchida, "He's getting a little anxious because he wants to get a hit. He has a bit of a hitch in his right shoulder so I told him that he should open up his stance a little. I want him to get a feel for hitting again."
...Scott Seabol went 2-for-4, from the clean-up spot, with 3 RBIs against the Hanshin Tigers. He hit a 2-run homer in the first to give the Carp 2 quick runs out of the gate.
...Daisuke Kato couldn't hold onto a 2-run lead against the Yokohama Bay Stars on Friday. Entering in the 9th, Kato managed to record two quick outs before giving up a walk a and 2 doubles on route to blowing the save. The game ended in a 5-5 tie.
RAKUTEN GOLDEN EAGLES
...Takeshi Yamasaki and Yosuke Takasu were sent up to Ichi-gun prior to the exhibition game against the Chiba Lotte Marines on Friday.
...G.G. Sato hit his first home run since returning to Ichi-gun play. It was a 2-run shot off Yoshinori Sato in the 6th inning against the Swallows.
...Seibu last two starting pitchers have had a tough outings (Ishii, 7 ER; Hoashi, 4 ER). The latest victim: Fumiya Nishiguchi. Against the Yomiuri Giants on Friday, Nishiguchi gave up 6 runs (all earned) over 5 innings on 9 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strike outs.
...Nobuhiko Matsunaka hit his second home run in as many games on Friday. It was also his second home run in consecutive at bats (he hit a homer in his last at bat on the 17th and then his first at bat on Friday).
...Shohei Tateyama showed off 6 different off-speed / breaking pitches (including a forkball, shuto, and a newly added knuckle curve) against the Nippon Ham Fighters en route to 6 innings of shut-out ball. He also scattered 3 hits and walked 1 while striking out 1.
...Jamie D'Antona hit home runs in 2 consecutive at bats against the Seibu Lions on Thursday. He went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs.
...Hisanori Takahashi appeared in his first exhibition game on Friday against the Seibu Lions. He tossed 5 innings while giving up 1 run (earned) on 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strike outs. Takahashi was suffering from some minor lower back pains and had a slow start.
...Seung-Yeop Lee had a big day against the Seibu Lions on Friday, taking a walk in his first at bat before hitting home runs in his next two consecutive at bats.
Said Lee, "I hurt my finger last season and was swinging the bat with my upper body a lot. But now, I'm able to use both my upper and lower body to swing the bat."
...Alex Ramirez unveiled his new home run "dance" to the public on Friday. He will be incorporating a "Wa" theme this season that involves him pretending to turn a Japanese tea bowl in his hands twice before bringing it to his lips.
Ramirez, who will no longer be treated as a "foreigner" on baseball rosters, said "Since I'm going to be treated as a Japanese player from this season, I wanted to incorporate something Japanese in my dance."
...Taishi Ohta's first full professional season at Ni-gun will officially start on the 20th against Yakult.
Said Ohta, "[That HR I hit on the 15th] doesn't count so it doesn't really matter. I've been working very hard. I'd like to start off the season swinging."
...Eri Yoshida was honorary police chief of Toyono-cho, Osaka for the day on the 20th. She also took part in a Safety Program at a Toyono-cho Junior High School.