...Kikuchi's father was relieved that everything is now finally set. Said his father, "I'm relieved it's beeen decided now. He's a country boy, please watch over him."
...The negotiations lasted about 3 hours.
...Daisuke Matsuzaka will be keeping a close eye on Kikuchi. "I've heard he's enthusiastic about learning new things and has got a solid head on his shoulders. He's a player I want to keep checking up on," said Matsuzaka.
He also added, "There's no reason for him to try and go overboard to prove himself. If he's got what it takes, people around him will see it. He just needs to stick to his ways and do things on his own pace."
...Kikuchi picked the number 17 for a number of reasons. One was because it's his birthday (6/17/1991). He also wore the number 17 when his team made it to the Koshien during his first year. Another reason is because it's close to the number 18 (reserved for the staff ace).
And some interview questions (via Sanspo):
What are you thinking right now?
It's been 10 years since I first started playing baseball. I'm happy that I'll now have a chance to realize my dreams. But I'm still at the beginning. I need to put up results in a competitive environment.
Your goals for your first season?
There are a lot of expectations, but I'm still new at this. I need to strengthen my body and my spirit so that I can make it to Ichi-gun as soon as possible.
The number 17?
I was born on June 17th. Plus it was the first number I wore when I got to Koshien. Having a number in the teens requires a lot of responsibility. It means having to become a reliable piece of the rotation. I just hope that I can get close to becoming an ace.
It snowed a lot...
It was just a coincidence that it snowed today. I'd like to try and win as many games.
Your ideal pitcher...
I don't really have any. I just want to become the type of pitcher kids want to become. The kind of pitcher that people talk about.
What will you be working on?
I can only really throw a fastball, so I want to increase the number of off-speed pitches I can throw. I want to improve my game quickly so that I can compete.
Any regrets about the US?
Sponichi carried a couple of other questions and answers that I've provided down below:
Which is stronger right now: worries or confidence?
Of course I have some worries, and I'm at 50-50 with expectations. The only way to get rid of my worries is to practice. I plan on going home and practicing after this.
You'll have a chance to face Nakamura during camp...
I'd like to see how effective my fastball is against him. I don't think for one minute that my fastball will be good enough to get him out. I want to work on building up my body as much as possible in time for camp.