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Around the NPB Horn: Makoto Imaoka, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Yu Darvish news and more

by on Oct.12, 2009 @ 6:01 pm, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

...The Tigers appear to be interested in Lotte pitcher Hiroyuki Kobayashi.  Kobayashi can opt for free agency this season and if he does, the Tigers will likely try to land the 31-year-old righty.

...Tigers' pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi and Tomoyuki Kubota will meet at some point to talk about how the pitcher might be used moving forward.  Between 2005 and 2008, Kubota made up the 'K' portion of the JFK trio.  In 2009, the Tigers reverted him back to a starting pitcher, but that didn't work out as well as the team had hoped it would.

Said Kubota, "I'll do what the team asks of me, but I'd like to be in the starting rotation next season."

...Keiichi Hirano will be attending the team's Fall camp this year.

"I want to work on everything at camp, I want to get better," said Hirano.  "The manager was sad a lot of the time this past season and I don't want to see that happen again next season."

...Keisuke Kano will focus on building up his arm strength during the Fall camp.

...Norihiro Akahoshi still isn't sure when he'll be ready to rejoin the team for practice.

"He had the day off yesterday and today.  Goal?  We haven't really set any and have taken more of a wait and see approach," said the team's chief trainer.

Akahoshi is working his way back from a slipped disc in his back.

...The Tigers will likely try to cut back on the 2010 salaries for Tomoaki Kanemoto, Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, and Akihiro Yano.

Yano's salary could go down by as much as 80M yen.

...As mentioned yesterday, Mitsuo Tateishi will become the team's developmental (San-gun) coach next season.  Other coaching announcements:

Kojiro Machida - developmental batting coach
Shoji Tohyama - developmental pitching coach

...Kazuya Tsutsui and a former model Yuri Honda announced that they will be getting married during the off-season.  The two met on June 24th, 2007 and began dating in July.

Hiroshima Carp

...The Carp will likely officially offer Kenjiro Nomura a contract on the 13th.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...The Fighters have given Yu Darvish the green light to commute to practice from his home in Miyazaki Prefecture during his participation in the Phoenix League.

"I don't think there's any problem with him commuting from his wife's parents home.  It'll give him a chance to see his kids and that could help him take his mind off things as well," said manager Masataka Nashida.

Orix Buffaloes

...Greg LaRocca plans on rejoining the team on February 1st, 2010 for early training camp.

Rakuten Eagles

...There were some rumors that Masahiro Tanaka would make an appearance in Sunday night's final regular season game of the year, but apparently that was all a misunderstanding.

Seibu Lions

...Hisataka Yukizawa (currently the chief scout) will likely become the Lions Ni-gun manager next season.  The Lions are expected to make some more changes to their coaching staff and should have everything set by mid-November.

Yomiuri Giants

...Shun Tono should have made a start in a Phoenix League game today.  As of yesterday, the Giants were talking about him making a 100-pitch outing.

...Wirfin Obispo thinks the Swallows will be an easier opponent to face during the Second Round of the Climax Series.

Other

...No teams expressed any interest in Makoto Imaoka.

Carp: We already have Phillips at third...

Bay Stars: We just got rid of Kudo and Nishi...  But we're in a youth movement right now.  If the new manager wants him as a right-handed pinch hitter, then maybe there's a spot for him.

Eagles: He can play, but he doesn't really fit into our needs.

Hawks: If he was a player worth going after, the Tigers wouldn't be letting him go.  (OUCH!)

Fighters: He did play in the last Ni-gun game of the season so we have nothing to judge him on.