CHIBA LOTTE MARINES
...Shunsuke Watanabe was taken out of the rotation since he didn't have a chance to make any starts during the WBC. Watanabe will be spending some time in Ni-gun to help build up his arm strength.
...Yoshihisa Naruse pitched in his first exhibition game on Thursday against the Chunichi Dragons (pain in his left leg kept him out of games). He tossed 3 scoreless innings in relief and gave up 2 hits and struck out 3.
He was originally slated to start an exhibition game against the Orix Buffaloes on the 25th.
...Takuya Asao may have solidified his spot in the starting rotation with his latest start -- over 6.2 innings of work, Asao gave up 1 run (earned) on 7 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strike outs.
Kanemoto should be ready to go for opening day against the Yakult Swallows.
...Takahiro Arai made a start against the Softbank Hawks on Wednesday in the number 5 hole as the DH and went 0-for-3 (2 ground outs and a fly out). It was the first time since the 7th that Arai was in the starting line-up for the Tigers.
...The Tigers have lost 7 straight exhibition games (their last win came against the Eagles on March 11th).
...Alex Cabrera is still recovering from pains he starting experiencing in his left flank during a game against the Yokohama Bay Stars on the 20th. He is currently set to return to the line-up on the 27th against the Dragons.
RAKUTEN GOLDEN EAGLES
...Kohei Hasebe continues to work his way back from left knee surgery and tossed strong 5 innings; he gave up a run on 6 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 4.
He touched 148km/h on the radar gun during the game.
...Kenji Ohtonari, recovering from surgery done on his left elbow during the off-season this year, tossed 81 pitches over 5.1 innings and gave up a run (earned) on 5 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strike outs.
...Yoshinori Sato appeared in relief against the Yokohama Bay Star on Thursday and pitched 4 innings while giving up a hit, 5 walks (!) and struck out 3. He did not give up any runs. Masanori Ishikawa started the game and tossed 5 scoreless innings while giving up 1 run (earned) on 5 hits, 0 walks, and 5 strike outs. Ishikawa could be the opening day starter for the Swallows.
...The Swallows held a press conference on the 25th to announce their new addition: Yasuhiro Ichiba. Ichiba will be making his first start with the Swallows on the 29th against the Seibu Lions. He will be wearing the number 43.
...As a precautionary move, Shinya Miyamoto wasn't in the line-up for an exhibition game against the Bay Stars due to pain in his left calf.
YOKOHAMA BAY STARS
...Daisuke Miura had a rocky start against the Swallows on Thursday, giving up 10 runs (9 earned) over 4 innings of work while giving up 13 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strike outs.
...Seung-Yeop Lee went 3-for-3 (with 2 homers and 4 RBIs) on Wednesday against the Chunichi Dragons and now has a .341 spring batting average.
Said Lee, "Both of those homers felt really great. But these things don't really mean anything so I can't wait until the real season begins."
...Shun Tono gave up 3 runs over 6 innings in his last start on Wednesday. Despite giving up 6 hits (2 home runs) and 1 walk, Tono managed to strike out 7.
...Eri Yoshida is still set to make a relief appearance on opening day (3/27) vs. the Osaka Gold Villicanes. Yoshida was experiencing some pain in her right shoulder, but was seen playing catch, running, and then throwing about a 70-pitch bullpen session on the 26th.
...The Eastern League presented new uniform designs for the Futures team.
The new Futures Uniform