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Around the NPB Horn: A “rain of grounders” and 1,500 pitches in 14 days

by on Nov.02, 2009 @ 12:16 pm, under NPB

Chunichi Dragons

...Hiromitsu Ochiai oversaw Fall camp for the first time this year and pushed his players for about 7 and a half hours.  And despite rain coming down in the afternoon, the younger players at camp did laps and sprints.

Masahiko Morino committed a league high 25 errors this past season and was given a steady diet of grounders for about 2 and a half hours.

Said Morino, "I didn't have any time to go to the bathroom so I'm glad I got that out of the way beforehand.  This is the way it's going to this year."

Hanshin Tigers

...Yamato, Keiichi Hirano, and Kohei Shibata spent time practicing their bunts and working on advancing runners during indoor practice at Fall camp on Sunday.

...A "Rain of Grounders."  For 50 minutes straight, Akinobu Mayumi hit about 500 grounders to 4 infielders during practice on Sunday.  Improving the team's mark of 86 errors this past season is a big goal for the team this off-season.  And according to Sanspo, Takashi Toritani, Masashi Nohara, and Keisuke Mizuta were three of the four infielders involved.

...Yuya Ando and Tomoaki Kanemoto made a deal last year: if Ando wins 10+ games, Kanemoto buys him a wrist watch worth 1M yen; if Ando doesn't, Ando shaves his head.

Ando finished the past season with 8 wins and shaved his head at the start of Fall camp.

Not happy about missing out on the watch (and having to shave his head) Ando wants to take the challenge again next season.

...Tomoyuki Kubota tossed 108 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday.  Strangely, the team supposedly put a ban on pitchers throwing too much during Fall camp (pitching coach Yasuo Kubo has said that pitchers were being held to 50-60 pitches).  But with a day off on Monday, it seems the ban was temporarily lifted.

...Ryo Asai will be joining up with the Fall camp roster on the 8th.  Asai has been working his way back from a right hamstring injury and should be ready to practice at full strength.

Hiroshima Carp

...Watching game 2 of the Nippon Series was part of the training program for the Carp on Sunday.  All 15 pitchers that are at Fall camp gathered together after practice to watch the game on TV.

Orix Buffaloes

...Tomotaka Sakaguchi has been assigned a new uniform number.  Starting next season, instead of the number 52, Sakaguchi will be wearing the number 9.  Ikki will also have a new number next season as he goes from the number 54 to the number 3.

Rakuten Eagles

...Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka won't be participating in the Fall camp that starts up on 11/3.  Instead, the two will be allowed to train on their own.

"Our biggest problem was the number of injuries.  Both Tanaka and Iwakuma too.  Those that were injured need to focus on getting better and start things off at 10%," said pitching coach Yoshinori Sato.

...The Eagles have offered an Ichi-gun coaching job to Luis Lopez.  They have also made the following coaching changes:

Osamu Abe > reassigned to batting coach from junior coach

Ryoji Moriyama > pitching coach

Atsuhiro Motonishi > OF / base running coach

Seibu Lions

...Ni-gun batting Hiromoto "Dave" Ohkubo was in uniform for the start of Ni-gun Fall Camp.

Softbank Hawks

...Koji Akiyama told the media that the team has hired Koji Watanabe as a weight training / strengthening coach to help the team bulk-up.  Watanabe is known for helping 2005 Judo bronze medalist Yohei Takai.

Yakult Swallows

...One night after deciding to try pitching again, Yuhei Takai has decided to continue along the path of converting over to an outfielder.

...Ryo Kawashima would like to try and throw 1,500 pitches during Fall camp.  That camp itself is 14 days long.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...A note to the new manager: Seiichi Uchikawa would like to play first base.

Said Uchikawa, "I'll play where ever the new manager wants me to play, but I think first base would make it easier for me to get into the game."