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Around the NPB Horn: Shuichi Murata nails his 200th career home run

by on Jul.28, 2009 @ 2:57 pm, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

...Jeff Williams began his rehab work-outs on Monday. He will also likely get his left shoulder checked out to see if there's any damage to the area.

...The Koshien unveiled the "Reliefs Commemorating the Renewal of Koshien" on Tuesday.

Three reliefs, each measuring 2.2 meters high and 2.8 meters wide, will now greet visitors to the ballpark.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Yu Darvish was given the go sign for his start on the 31st. When asked if he was still feeling any pain, Darvish replied:

"Pain? I don't think you need to ask me that question any more. After all, I'm playing catch right now without any problems."

Orix Buffaloes

...Greg LaRocca was hit by a pitch in last night's game against the Softbank Hawks.

Batting in the 8th, LaRocca was hit in the right hand and taken out of the game. The are was iced but LaRocca later said:

"I think it's broken. I've had the same thing happen a number of times in the past so I can sort of tell."

LaRocca has now been hit by a pitch 100 times in his 6-year NPB career.

...The Buffaloes announced on Tuesday that they will remove the jet balloon ban on the 31st when the team plays host to the Seibu Lions.

Rakuten Eagles

...The Eagles will be using a new ball at their ball park during the second half.

Rakuten was using baseballs produced by Zett in the first half of the season but will now be using baseball made by Mizuno. According to this article by Sanspo, Mizuno balls apparently have a tendency to carry farther. This has gotten Katsuya Nomura a bit worried.

"Ball flying father will mean our pitches will get hit farther as well. Hopefully the pitchers won't to caught up on that fact..."

The Eagles actually switch from Zett made balls to Mizuno balls halfway through the season last year as well and the number from then aren't exactly promising for pitchers: the home run rate per game went from 0.47 in the first half to 1.22 in the second half; pitchers were also giving up more home runs in the second half, from 0.49 to 1.22 per game.

While there could be other reasons for the rise in home run numbers, it'll be interesting to keep an eye on the home run rate in the second half.

Softbank Hawks

...Jose Ortiz will be getting his left flank checked out again after complaining of lingering pain during practice on Monday.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...Shuichi Murata hit his 200th career home run off Yuya Ando in the first inning of last night's game against the Hanshin Tigers. Murata became the 93rd player in NPB history to record 200 home runs.