CHIBA LOTTE MARINES
...Team officials have decided not to print any posters advertising inter-league games this year. Their reason: because the team is in last place. Honestly, with all the stuff that's been happening (rumors of them wanting to move, Bobby's last season), this isn't much of a surprise. And if they think for a minute that they're tricking anyone by saying that they aren't creating posters because they're in last place, they've got something else coming to them.
...Marketing Tony Blanco... Looks like the team will try to take advantage of some of the popular Blanco has gained after hitting a bank of speakers. While nothing is concrete yet, a t-shirt appears likely. Dome officials have said that they intend to put up a marker near the bank of speakers Blanco hit so that fans can just how high (and far) he jacked the homer.
...Kyuji Fujikawa is set to return to the parent club on the 13th.
...Minoru Iwata may have made his last rehab start on the 12th against Softbank; he gave up 2 runs on 4 hits over 5 innings. Iwata did toss two wild pitches in the game so he does appear to be having some control issues.
Kevin Mench also appears to be turning the corner, going 4-for-4 with 6 RBIs in the same game that Iwata started.
...The Tigers have hit 6,999 home runs in it's history.
NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS
..Single? Looking for a marriage partner? Why not try out the Sapporo Dome Konkatsu Seats? On July 11th and 12th, the Ham Fighters will set up a speciall "Konkatsu Seats" behind the home plate area. 100 tickets (50 men, 50 women) will be sold on each day. Men and women will be seated next to each other (so man, woman, man, woman...) and people will shift seats between each inning for a chance to meet someone new.
Prizes like signed memorabilia, travel tickets, and hotel vouchers will be handed out as well. Those couples that end up tying the knot will also have a chance at throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at a game some time in the future.
Quick Japanese Lesson: Konkatsu (婚活) is made up of two Japanese characters, kon (婚) and katsu (活). The kon comes from the Japanese words kekkon (結婚), or marriage. The katsu comes from katsudo (活動), or activity. So konkatsu, loosely translated, means activity done to try and find a marriage partner.
...Masahiro Tanaka has been penciled in to start the game against the Fighters on the 13th. Tanaka practiced with the team on the 11th (an off-day).
...Alex Graman was removed from the active roster due to pain in his left shoulder. It seems like it could be a resurgence of the previous injury. Graman will most likely get the shoulder checked out and the team will probably take things a little more slowly to ensure he's 100% the next time he's called up.
YOKOHAMA BAY STARS
...Apparently Toshihisa Nishi DID submit his intent to retire back on 4/21 (not exactly sure what's going on with him any more) and that it's the team that's been trying to keep him from retiring. Well, now it seems as though the team is ready to let go -- from here on out, Nishi will not have to travel with the team for away games.
...Tetsuya Utsumi could be called back to the parent club on the 15th, in time for a 3-game series against Hiroshima at Mazda Stadium.