...Hiroyuki Nakajima didn't spend any time in the batting cage during practice on Saturday in order to "reset" his swing.
Said Nakajima, "I didn't have a good game on the 19th and so I figured I'd take a day off from the cages to try and reset my swing. I thought that it might help change my approach at the plate.
...This article mentions that the US team doesn't necessarily think that playing in LA means home field advantage because of the fairly large Japanese population in the area.
...Japan may try to load up their lineup with seven lefties in an effort to neutralize Roy Oswalt (Nakajima and Johjima could end up being the only righties).
And that means Munenori Kawasaki could end up in the line-up (perhaps in the 9 hole at third base).
...Kenta Kurihara couldn't get any sleep on his flight to the US. It showed a little during fielding practice as he let a few balls get by, but he still swung the bat with authority, nailing most of the pitches he saw.
Some Kurihara comments prior to flying out of Japan:
On your current thoughts
I heard about it yesterday and was surprised. It isn't really how I wanted to be selected, but as long as I'm going, I'll do my best for Japan.
On being selected to the team
I'm definitely not happy. Murata was the clean-up hitter, he was the guy in the middle of the line-up, so it's no doub this loss is going to be huge. I have no idea if I'll be able to fill those shoes, but I'll do my best.
On watching the WBC
I was watching the games on TV, but my mind was focused on the current season. I was hoping that they'd win.
On his condition
I've started all the exhibition games, and I think I'm in a much better place now than back in February. Everyone is watching so closely that I think there's nothing else to do but win.
...Based on this article, it would appear as though it'll be a "relay" team of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish against the US. After all, Hara did say, "If we don't win the Semifinals game, there is no Finals game. From here on out, it's like the Koshien."
...Toshiya Sugiuchi will be ready to pitch whenever he's needed. In 4.2 innings of work, spanning 3 relief appearances, Sugiuchi has yet to surrender a hit.
Said Sugiuchi, "I'm not feeling any pain and I'm not feeling any tightness. I'll go whenever I'm called."
...Kenji Johjima's quick book on Roy Oswalt:
"Oswalt pitches quickly so he might give Japanese batters some trouble. He can hit 95 mph on the radar gun and unlike Peavy, he can throw a big curve."
...Japan kept things light and relaxed during their practice day. The players were seen wearing their training sneakers instead of their spike for fielding and batting practice.
...Nomura's comment on Hisashi Iwakuma being selected over Yu Darvish:
"I really want Iwakuma to do his best out there. Right now, I think Iwakuma is doing better than Darvish. He seems more steady. ... That he was able to go 6 innings without giving up a run against Cuba in a do or die situation tells me he'll be alright. He's got a really cool head."
...Both Davey Johnson and Reggie Smith played for the Yomiuri Giants at one point during their professional careers.
(1983-84) 186 G, 134-for-494, 83 R, 14 2B, 0 3B, 45 HR, 122 RBI, 127 SO, .271 BA, .385 OBP, .573 SLG
(1975-76) 199 G, 159-for-660, 77 R, 23 2B, 2 3B, 39 HR, 112 RBI, 133 SO, .241 BA, .326 OBP, .459 SLG