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Kenji Johjima News and Notes: Johjima wants to play in every regular season game

by on Nov.13, 2009 @ 10:41 pm, under NPB

About 170 reporters showed up for Kenji Johjima's press conference at a hotel in Osaka on Friday.

Johjima signed a 4 year deal worth 2B yen plus incentives with the Hanshin Tigers and was assigned the number 2.

What follows are his comments (via Sanspo):

What are you feeling right now?

This is the third press conference I've had in my life.  You could say that I've gotten used to them.  I'm glad that I'm able to have this big smile on my face at a press conference in front of so many people in Osaka.

What are your family or people close to you saying?

It's my baseball career.  My family understands how important this is for me.  I'm sure they will give me all the support I need.

What kind of catcher do you want to be?

I'm sure the media will provide plenty of coverage when things are going well, but I'm also sure that the media will provide plenty of criticism when things are going badly.  When that happens, I want to be standing front and center, taking full responsibility.  My job is to help pitchers when they need the support.  I don't want the pitchers to feel like they're out there on the mound by themselves.

How about communication with the pitchers?

I play mahjong.  And just as in mahjong, it is important to know your pitchers in good times and in bad times.  I want to try and catch as many pitchers as I can during camp.  I want to make each of those moments stick.

Have you done any research on Hanshin?  You did play along side Fujikawa and Iwata during the WBC.

Everything happened in such a flurry.  Iwata and Kyuji [Fujikawa] are both pitchers that are good enough to play at the WBC and they both threw extremely well.  Even if things are quiet between us, they are the type of pitchers that need to do well.

The team is counting on your right-handed bat...

I've been playing this game for 15 years and I'm not about to change the way I play.  I have a proactive approach to hitting.  If I see a mistake pitch during my first at bat of the regular season, I'll be ready to swing.

Any stat goals?

If possible, I'd like to play every inning of every game.  If not that, then at least every game.  I'd like to try and emulate Kanemoto.

Playing in the Central League will be a first for you...

I grew up in the Pacific League, so there's plenty I have to learn.  As a player, I have a bunch of concerns.  But I need to move forward.  I want to address each of my concerns one by one so that I'll be fully prepared for opening day.  No matter how many years go by, I can never sleep the day before opening day.  I'm sure I'll approach it filled with excitement and tension.

Your thoughts on the Hanshin fans...

As an opponent, Koshien Stadium was a really tough place to play in.  Now those fans will be on my side.  I'm looking forward to hearing all the fans cheering for me.  But with all the cheering comes a lot of responsibility as well.  I think the real cheering will take place next Fall when they're thinking how glad they are that the Tigers signed Johjima.  As long as I decided to join this team, I need to keep moving forward and play my best for the Tigers and go crazy at Koshien Stadium.