Chiba Lotte Marines
...Saburo may have given up on his dreams of playing in the Majors:
Next year I'll be 34 so the Majors... My dream right now is to win a Championship with this team.
Saburo is also working on trying to convince the front office that it's about time they changed the turf at Chiba Marine Stadium.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...The Fighters are thinking about asking Ryo Ishikawa (pro golfer) to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for their opening day game.
Ishikawa is undoubtedly one of the hottest rising athletes in Japan right now after becoming the youngest golf player in Japan to place first in the yearly earning rankings.
Ishikawa also threw out the first pitch prior to a Red Sox vs Athletics game that took place at the Tokyo Dome in March 2008. With advice from Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ishikawa apparently managed to hit 94km/h on the radar gun.
...Akinobu Okada is looking forward to playing against his old team, the Hanshin Tigers, next season -- they have 3 exhibition games and 4 Inter-league games against them.
...Hisashi Iwakuma was at Ronald McDonald House Sendai on Monday, helping about 30 children decorate a Christmas tree.
...Toshiya Sugiuchi has set his goals for next season fairly high: 20 wins, 200 strikeouts, and 200 innings.
Sugiuchi also plans on putting up a strong fight to allow trainers back into the clubhouse.
...Yuichi Honda is planning on going to Saipan in January to train. He will be using the same ballpark Hideki Matsui trained in back in 1999.
...Takehiko Oshimoto tossed about 100 BP pitches in an effort to help out his fellow team mate, Yuhei Takai.
Takai is trying to breath some life into his career as an outfielder after failing to put up results as a pitcher.
"When I was playing for Nippon Ham, I remember watching Itoi [make the conversion from pitcher to outfielder and] saw how much he practiced. Swinging the bat as much as possible is really important [for Takai right now]," said Oshimoto.
...Norichika Aoki will be looking for a contract worth at least 300M yen. The Swallows and Aoki are set to meet sometime soon.
...The Giants will once again employ a three-tiered grouping system. Group A will consist of veterans, Group B younger players, and Group C players that are rehabbing.
The coaches and the managers will then begin to start splitting the everyone into Ichi-gun and Ni-gun groups on February 14th and 15th.
...Tatsunori Hara visited Akita Prefecture on Monday to make his yearly rounds meeting with children at hospitals. Hara has been dropping by Akita Prefecture for the last 16 consecutive years and has made appearances in over 150 locations.
...If at first you don't succeed, try some wrastling: Katsuaki Furuki, released by the Orix Buffaloes at the end of the season, plans on making an appearance on Hustle. An official announcement will likely come sometime today.