Some Yusei Kikuchi updates:
...This Sponichi article appears to think that Kikuchi could make a decision to go the Majors as early as this week.
Two of Kikuchi's biggest concerns about playing in the US were the life style differences and the language barrier. But both of those concerns were apparently addressed at various points during the meetings with the 8 MLB teams.
Kikuchi was reassured that he shouldn't worry too much about the life style in the US since there were so many Japanese people living there that have made the adjustment without any difficulties. And both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets have said that they will prepare a personal interpreter for him.
All of this, according to Sponichi, points to a very good chance that Kikuchi will decide to opt for the Majors instead of the NPB.
...A Q&A with Kikuchi from yesterday's press conference posted by Sponchi:
You've met with 8 MLB teams...
I learned that their developmental system is great. It made me think that they are the best.
The differences between Japan and America...
They are both unique systems. Japan has a system that's very thorough. And America's system is based on a number of different leagues that begins with the rookie league.
Where do you want to go?
I can't really say. With regards to the US, I've learned some new things that will make my decision a lot more difficult.
Any differences between the 8 MLB clubs?
I wouldn't mind going to any of the clubs [I met]. I really got the feeling that all of the clubs would help support me. And I'm grateful that they would come so far just to meet me.
Saito (Waseda), Tazawa (Red Sox) are rooting for you...
I really look up to Saito-san so I'm very happy about that. And I think Tazawa-san was in a similar situation, but once he got to America he found out that there were a lot of Japanese people there and that he didn't have to worry so much.
About your decision...
I'm going to try my best to make sure my decision doesn't come right before the draft; I'll try to make a decision as soon as possible.
=== Updated 10/21/2009 @ 10:53am JST
...Sanspo mentions that a decision could come as early as the 10/23.
...There are already headlines about Kikuchi throwing to Kenji Johjima:
Hanshin, Johjim, and Kikuchi... A dream match!?
...And a couple other quotes that the Sponichi Q&A didn't cover:
Your thoughts on the player that came with the Rangers...
He definitely had an aura. I'm glad I was able to talk to someone who is playing in he best league in the world. I asked him how he pitched and what his strong points were.
On the 30-minute meeting limit...
I thought it might be a bit long at first, but [now that they're over], I wish they were longer. I felt bad that they only had 30 minutes. I was, after all, able to talk about my favorite subject and wish I could meet them more.
=== Update 10/21/2009 @ 12:46pm JST
...Hanamaki Higashi managers Sasaki seems worried about Kikuchi playing in the Majors.
"There are differences in language and life style. There's the mental / emotional aspect, as well as what happens if he gets sicks," said Sasaki.
When ask what he felt about the interpreters the Mets and Dodgers would provide he replied, "Yes, but even then I'm worried."
Sasaki later added, "In Japan, there was discussion about him starting right away. But most US players tend to spend their time growing before getting their shot at starting."