CHIBA LOTTE MARINES
...The Marines and Tempur Japan signed a sponsorship deal that enabled the team to put Tempur cushions on the benches in both dugouts at Chiba Marine Stadium. The team will now be receiving 50 Tempur pillows that their players will be able to take along with them during road trips.
...Kodai Sakurai will be playing in two Ni-gun games on the 22nd and 23rd in an effort to try and keep his hitting rhythm intact.
Said Yoshiaki Oka (coach), "He's finally starting to come around. We thought it might be better for him to play in a couple of games instead of take those days off."
...Minoru Iwata will likely join the Tigers' starting rotation in time for an upcoming series against the Dragons and Giants. Iwata 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in 5 games against the Dragons last season and 3-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 6 games against the Giants last season.
NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS
...Manager Masataka Nashida is in the final year of a 2-year deal. It seems likely that the Fighters will give him an extension and that a final decision could be made sometime after August.
...Saeko Darvish will be helping the Fighters design a special edition rain boot for the young female fan base. Apparel design is not something new to Saeko Darvish as she fairly recently started up her own line of apparel called Peppi.Kitty.
...Newly acquired Todd Linden should be able to join the team on the 30th in time for a 3-game series against the Nippon Ham Fighters.
...Kazuo Fukumori will begin his comeback with the Eagles at Ni-gun. There is currently no set date for when he might get his first appearance. It probably won't be until after July that Fukumori gets his shot at making the Ichi-gun rosters.
...Fumikazu Kimura could be joining the parent club at some point in the very near future (possibly for the Softbank Hawks' series that begins on the 26th). This despite the fact that he's currently 1-8 with an 8.14 ERA. Why? Because the Lions feel they could use another power pitcher and Kimura owns a 150+km/h fastball and currently leads Ni-gun (both Eastern and Western Leagues) with 61 strike outs.
...Norichika Aoki is nursing an injured right ankle. Tests taken at an area hospital revealed no structural damage.
Said Aoki, "We have 4 days before games start back up again so I should be fine."
...21-year-old lefty pitcher Kyohei Muranaka be re-joining the Swallows on July 10th, in time for a three game series against the Yokohama Bay Stars. Muranaka is coming back from an injury in his left elbow.
...Shigeo Nagashima will be in attendance on the 26th when the Giants play host to the Yakult Swallows at the Tokyo Dome. ...and Taishi Ohta's a more than just a little excited. Ohta almost had a chance to meet one of his baseball hero's during pre-season work-outs, but was demoted to Ni-gun before he could.