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NPB: Mazda Stadium official complete; Satoshi Sugiyama passes; and more

by on Mar.28, 2009 @ 1:19 pm, under NPB

CHIBA LOTTE MARINES

...Tadahito Iguchi was back in the lineup on Saturday (vs the Yomiuri Giants) for the first time since getting hit by a pitch on the 24th. He batted fourth and went 2-for-3 with a double and struck out once.

...Hiroshi Kobayashi gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 (including 3 solo home runs) hits and 2 walks over 4 innings of work; he also struck out 7. But his start was not a lost cause.

Said Bobby Valentine, "Most of the hits off him were grounders. And the fly balls that were hit went for home runs because we're playing the Tokyo Dome. If he pitches like he did today, he should win 15 games this year."

HANSHIN TIGERS

...The Tigers lost yet another [exhibition] game -- that's now 8 straight losses.

Said Akinobu Mayumi, "We're going to win tomorrow. ... We just need to get over this little rough patch. At this point, I just want to get into the regular season on a positive note."

...Minoru Iwata was at Naruohama Stadium working out on Saturday. He spent the day running and lifting.

Said Iwata, "It doesn't hurt. It's just that I can't really throw. But I'd like to try and continue doing the things I can do."

...Takahiro Arai started at third (vs the Orix Buffaloes) on Saturday for the first time since injuring his right arm. He also went 1-for-3 with a walk at the plate.

...Yuya Ando gave up 2 runs (both earned) on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3 over 5 innings of work. It didn't appear as though the batted ball off his left ankle against the Hiroshima Carp on the 20th had any ill effects on him.

...Kyuji Fujikawa is set to make his first appearance in a game since returning from the WBC on Sunday (vs the Orix Buffaloes).

...Akihiro Yano may not be ready for opening day. On top of the pains in his right elbow, Yano also appears to having some problems with his left calf.

HIROSHIMA CARP

...Kenta Maede gave up 10 hits against the Softbank Hawks but still managed to hold them to 1 run (earned) over 6 innings; he also struck out 4.

...Colby Lewis had a rough outing against the Softbank Hawks on Friday, giving up 6 runs (all earned) on 9 hits and 1 walk; he also struck out 4.

...An official opening ceremony was held on Saturday to mark the completion of Mazda Stadium. About 170 people (city officials and construction officials) attended the ceremony.

Construction on the new stadium began in November of 2007 and cost roughly 9B yen ($92M dollars) to build. The new stadium can seat 33,150 people.

NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS

...Hisashi Takeda will most likely be the team closer this season.

...Atsunori Inaba went 0-for-3 in his first game since returning from the WBC.

ORIX BUFFALOES

...Alex Cabrera hit a home run in his first at bat since having to sit out for 5 games with a cold and back pains. He went 1-for-3 in the game.

...Satoshi Komatsu made his first start since returning from the WBC on Saturday against the Hanshin Tigers. He tossed 6 shut-out innings while scattering 6 hits; he also struck out 2 and didn't walk a batter.

RAKUTEN GOLDEN EAGLES

...Masahiro Tanaka threw 5 shutout innings and only allowed 3 hits (no walks) against the Chunichi Dragons; he also struck out 5.

...Ryuji Miyade got his first hit in his first at bat as an Eagle in an exhibition game against the Chunichi Dragons on Saturday. He went 1-for-3 in the game.

...Hisashi Iwakuma was slated to make an appearance in the Eagles' final exhibition game on Sunday against the Chunichi Dragons, but that was scrapped when he asked to be skipped.

Said Iwakuma, "Making an appearance in Nagoya? I decided against it. I'm feeling a little tired right now."

SOFTBANK HAWKS

...Munenori Kawasaki got his NPB season started with a 2-for-3 performance in an exhibition game against the Hiroshima Carp.

...Second baseman Yuichi Honda left the game against the Hiroshima Carp early due to an accident in the first inning. Honda injured his right wrist while trying to return to second base after hitting a lead-off double. Tests revealed nothing broken and he's listed as day-to-day.

...Nagisa Arakaki decided to change his style of pitching a little by taking something off his pitches, instead of pounding everything into the mitt. So far, so good: 0 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strike outs over 6 innings of work.

Said Arakaki, "If I had put more shoulder into my pitches, I probably could have thrown harder, but I thought it might be better to focus on movement and this game was the result of that."

YAKULT SWALLOWS

...Norichika Aoki was in the starting lineup against the Seibu Lions on Saturday, but was replaced in the first inning due to some back pains. Aoki apparently tweaked his back during pre-grame practice.

Said Aoki, "I think it's just exhaustion. I'm sure it'll be be fine after some rest. More than getting some time on the field, I think making sure I'm ready to go for opening day is more important.

YOKOHAMA BAY STARS

...Seiichi Uchikawa should be in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Ham Fighters (the last exhibition game of the season).

YOMIURI GIANTS

...Michihiro Ogasawara hit a home run in his first at bat since returning from the WBC. He also walked before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the third.

...Hisanori Takahashi made Shinnosuke Abe's first game back behind the plate (since returning from the WBC) easy by tossing 6 shut-out innings while scattering 4 hits and walk; he also struck out 7.

...Tatsunori Hara status at the International Budo University was upgraded from Special Lecturer to Guest Professor. Hara had been teaching at the university since 2004 (Sports Strategy Theory II).

OTHER

...The 2009 Nippon Professional Baseball League slogan will be "Baseball is..." This is the 60th Anniversary since the CL and PL was established. The hope is that the slogan will get people to think about what baseball means to them.

...Avex Management will be representing Eri Yoshida. This is the same company that also represents Yu Darvish (Nippon Ham Fighters) and Daisuke Miura (Yokohama Bay Stars).

...Satoshi Sugiyama passed away on the 27th due to lung cancer. He was 83.

Chunichi / Nagoya Dragons
Kokutetsu Swallows
Kintentsu Buffalo

Code:
G     AB    R    H     2B   3B  HR   TB    RBI  SB   BB/HBP  SO   AVG
1391  4762  593  1184  222  39  209  2111  698  105  401     789  .249

HR Leader: 1952
RBI Leader: 1954
Best Nine: 1952, 1954
All Star: 1953-1955