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Around the NPB Horn: Aoki to undergo surgery, should be ready to return to practice within the year

by on Nov.04, 2009 @ 11:28 am, under NPB

Chunichi Dragons

...Takuya Asao will be playing in the Dominican Winter Leagues in order to work on his form.

Said Asao, "I don't know which form is the best.  My control isn't very good right now, so I'd like to try something that'll help give me some stability.  I'd like to try a bunch of different things."

Hanshin Tigers

...Kohei Shibata and Yusuke Takahashi took fielding practice for the first time during Fall camp.

For 30 minutes, the two of them chased after batted balls that were hit by Akinobu Mayumi and Koji Yamawaki (fielding / base running coach).

...Keisuke Kano is working on his throws to second from behind home plate.

...Takashi Toritani will likely bat third in the line-up next season.

...Kazuya Tsutsui tossed 62 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is working on picking up a third pitch (he's basically a 2-pitch pitcher: fastball and change).

Said Tsutsui, "I don't want to give the batter an easy time figuring out what I'll throw next.  I want to try a number of different pitches, like the curve."

...Naoto Tsuru held a 63-pitch bullpen session yesterday under the watchful guise of the team owner.

...Tigers' owner Shinya Sakai dropped by Fall camp to check on his team's progress.  Afterward, the manager, head coach, club president, GM, and owner all got together for a 3 and a half hour meeting to discuss the future direction of the club.

Hiroshima Carp

...Kenta Kurihara was drained out after practice yesterday.  For the final round of practice, players split up on the field and worked on their fielding.  Off to the side, manger Kenjiro Nomura called on individual players and worked with them privately.  To Kurihara, Nomura hit over 50 grounders.

Said Kurihara, "My legs won't move.  I was trying so hard to field the ball."

Rakuten Eagles

...The Eagles held a 6 hour practice yesterday (11/3).

The team also held a moment of silence for Toshiyuki Mimura during practice.

Softbank Hawks

...The Hawks are using an interesting method to help train their players that involves them picking up a plastic soda bottle in the batter's box before running on to first base.  Doing this after swinging a bat apparently helps players get into the proper position before running to first.

The Hawks are also trying to get their players to focus more on their lower bodies and are having some players practice hitting while having a rubber tube wrapped around their knees.

Yakult Swallows

...Norichika Aoki should be able to return to practice before the end of the year.  He is set to undergo surgery to remove bone spurs in both his ankles and will be hospitalized for about a week.

Said Aoki, "I should be able to run at full speed within a month and half.  I'd like try and start practicing again within the year."


...Kimiyasu Kudo continues to work out while waiting for offers from interested teams.

Kudo will not be attending the tryouts on the 11th and will instead wait it out in the hopes that a team will find that they lack an arm.