CHIBA LOTTE MARINES
...The Marines are considering upgrading three Ikusei contracts: Hiroshi Miyamoto C, Yoshifumi Okada OF, and Juan Carlos Muniz OF.
...Tadahito Iguchi finished off his spring on a strong note, going 3-for-4 with a double.
...Tomoaki Kanemoto went 1-for-4 in his last game of the spring. That also included 2 straight strikes with runners on base. He also struck out in a pinch-hit appearance on Saturday against the Orix Buffaloes.
...Takahiro Arai picked up his first hit on Saturday against the Orix Buffaloes since returning to play. He went 1-for-3 in the game with a walk.
...The Tigers managed to stop their 8 game slide with a 2-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes during their last exhibition game of the season on Sunday.
...Kenta Kurihara was held out of the line-up due to some tightness in his left thigh. It was nothing more than a pre-caution.
...In the 9th innning on Sunday, against the Softbank Hawks, with a runner on third and no out, Marty Brown shifted Shogo Kimura from left field to a spot between second and third. Result: 3 ground ball outs, one of them even going to Kimura.
Brown's new weapon: the Shogo Shift?!
...Some more info on Mazda Stadium.
Distances to the fences:
- Left field 101m
- Center field 122m
- Right field 100m
Height of the fences:
- Left field ~9m
- Center field ~6m
- Right field ~9m
There's also an area out in right called the "Bikuri Terrace," or "The Surprise Terrace." Fans can apparently hold barbecues in this area.
NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS
...Tomohiro Nioka still isn't healthy enough to take the field, so most of his duties will continue to come as either a pinch-hitter or DH. But he hasn't managed to get his bat going this spring. In his final game of the spring, Nioka went 1-for-3 with two strike outs and an RBI. (The RBI came in the fourth with a runner on second and no out with the scored tied at 1.)
...Yu Darvish tossed 2 innings and gave up 2 runs in a start against the Yokohama Bay Stars on Sunday. He faced 8 batters and gave up 2 hits and struck out 1. Darvish's fastball topped out at 149km/h.
...Brian Sweeney finished off the spring by keeping his spring scoreless inning streak intact: 17 innings.
...The Bs Cheer Team made their first appearance on Saturday during a game against the Hanshin Tigers. They are the first cheer team for a baseball team located in Kansai.
The Bs Cheer Team
RAKUTEN GOLDEN EAGLES
...Darrell Rasner gave up an unearned run on 4 hits and struck out 8 over 5 innings of work. He ended the spring with a 3.18 ERA spanning 6 games. He will most likely be the number 3 pitcher in the rotation, behind Iwakuma and Tanaka.
...It appears as though Katsuya Nomura has decided on a closer: Tsuyoshi Kawagishi
Said Nomura, "He throws from the side, but he's got good velocity and he's mentally strong. I think Kawagishi will be my closer."
...Masahiro Tanaka topped out at 151km/h during his start on Saturday.
...Hiroyuki Nakajima and Yasuyuki Kataoka had big days for the Lions on Sunday. Nakajima went 2-for-4 with a 3-run home run; Kataoka went 3-for-4 with a double and triple.
...Takayuki Kishi had another rough outing on Saturday against the Swallows. He gave up 5 runs (all earned) on 6 hits and 1 walk over 6 innings of work; he also struck out 8.
...Hitoshi Tamura wasn't in the starting line-up against the Hiroshima Carp on Sunday. He was feeling some tightness in his right shoulder and it was decided prior to the game that he should rest the shoulder.
...Shota Ohba was demoted to Ni-gun on Sunday after his start against the Carp. With the starting rotation set, there wasn't much room to keep Ohba at Ichi-gun. His start didn't really help either: 3 runs (all earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings of work, including 6 strike outs.
...Hei Chun Lee had another bad outing on Sunday, this time against the Seibu Lions. He gave up 7 runs (all earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks (no strike out) over 3 innings of work. He ends the spring with 6.95 ERA.
But not everything was bad... The team finished the spring with a league-leading spring batting average of .288.
Said Shigeru Takada, "We still need one more starter for the rotation, but at least the line-up appears to be falling into place."
...Yasuhiro Ichiba pitched in his first game with the Swallows against the Lions on Sunday. He tossed a scoreless 7th and gave up a hit and struck out 1.
...Norichika Aoki was held out of the line-up again on Sunday, but this time due to a fever.
...Jamie D'Antona went 0-for-3 with a sac fly after hitting a solo home run on Saturday (2-for-3) against the Lions. He finished the spring with a .464 batting average.
...Tetsuya Utsumi tossed 100 pitches in his exhibition start against the Lotte Marines. Despite giving up 4 runs (on 8 hits, a walk, and 6 strike outs) over 6 innings, he didn't exactly pitch poorly. The 8 hits are a bit worrisome, but 4 of the 3 runs came on a 3-run home run off the bat of Tomoya Satozaki in the 6th.
...Michihiro Ogasawara hit his second home run in as many games on Sunday.
Final 2009 Spring Standings
W L T Softbank Hawks 15 7 2 Yakult Swallows 12 7 1 Hiroshima Carp 7 5 3 Chiba Lotte Marines 9 7 3 Nippon Ham Fighters 10 9 0 Orix Buffaloes 9 9 3 Rakuten Eagles 6 7 5 Yomiuri Giants 8 11 0 Seibu Lions 6 9 1 Yokohama Bay Stars 6 9 4 Chunichi Dragons 9 14 0 Hanshin Tigers 5 10 2