Chiba Lotte Marines
...Yuki Karakawa will be hawking Lawson's (a major convenience store chain) "Kara-age-kun" in TV commercials for the Chiba area during the month of August.
Kara-age-kun's are kind of like chicken nuggets.
...The Tigers must be breathing a sigh of relief, now that they know they'll be able to use Kyocera Dome to open the 2010 season.
High School baseball will using Koshien Stadium and the Tigers wanted to use Kyocera Dome. But with the Orix Buffaloes starting their 2010 season at home, if both leagues had started at the same time, the Tigers would have had to find another option.
...Pitching Coach Takashi Yamamguchi said that Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi need not worry about being dumped from the rotation because they feel he isn't pitching that poorly.
...The Tigers are thinking about asking Senichi Hoshino to attend the organizational meetings that will be taking place later this month. They feel he will be able to provide valuable insight into what the team should do heading into the 2010 season. Hoshino played a large part in the team's change in direction between the 2002 and 2003 season.
The team would also like Hoshino to return next season as their Senior Director.
...The Carp will likely go with Kenta Maeda, Keisuke Imai, and Yuki Saito to start the 3-game series against the Yomiuri Giants that gets underway tonight.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...Atsunori Inaba will be making his return to the line-up as a DH.
...32-year-old back-up catcher Masakazu Fukukawa's could be over. Fukukawa injured his left wrist and was taken off the active roster on July 28th. He recently had his wrist checked out (8/3) and was diagnosed with an injury to his TFCC. If things don't improve, surgery could become necessary.
...The Giants will attempt to go with a 5-man rotation over the next few weeks, despite the fact that a 6-man rotation would probably be better suited to the way the schedule is set-up. The first 3-pitchers to go will likely be Dicky Gonzalez, Tetsuya Utsumi, and Shun Tono. Both Gonzalez and Utsumi will be relied on to make starts once every 4 days.
...More on video replays: during the testing period that begins today, the system itself will be in operation, but will not be relied upon for verifying home run calls. Instead, reserve umps will be testing the system in the background.
The Pacific League is still also against the replay systems and currently has no plans of implementing them. The CL is hoping that the PL will come around.
...The NPB is currently thinking about getting a sponsor for the Nippon Series to help offset some of the losses the league will be experiencing. I'm guessing this is akin to how the All-Star series is currently set up with Mazda sponsoring the event.
If the NPB does go in this direction, it will be a first.
...As of the 10th, there have been 26 walk-off wins in the Central League and 25 in the Pacific League (7 of them belonging to the Softbank Hawks). Hanshin Tigers' Tomoaki Kanemoto leads all players with 4 walk-off hits, followed by Yomiuri Giants' Yoshiyuki Kamei, who has 3 walk-off hits, all of them home runs. The Pacific League does not have any players with 3 or more walk-off hits.
All of this information will be used to help determine the "SukaPa! Dramatic Walk-Off Award" that will be handed out at the end of the season. One player from each league will be picked. The two winners will get the award plus a cash prize of 2M yen.