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Around the NPB Horn: Johjima’ first game set for March 3, Ichiro to train with Yomiuri Giants

by on Dec.16, 2009 @ 10:52 am, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

...Kenji Johjima's first game in a Tigers' uniform will likely be in an exhibition game against the Hiroshima Carp at Yahoo Dome on March 3.

Why Yahoo Dome?  The Tigers are apparently worried about a possible rain-out and purposely picked a domed stadium for the game.

...Johjima asked Sofbank Hawks' Ni-gun assistant coach Hiroyuki Mori to help him break in the catcher's mitt he'll be using next season (this isn't the first time he's been asked by Johjima).

...Keiichi Hirano was postmaster for the day in Osaka on Tuesday.  He told reporters that he's like to make his primary position second base and would like to try and win a Golden Glove there.

Hirano split his time at second base and in the outfield in 2009 -- 79 games a second base and 79 games in the outfield (LF, RF).

...Kazuya Tsutsui was a guest on a Mainchi Radio program called Nomura-de Nomura-da, Go! Go! Extra on Tuesday.  He told listeners that he plans on approaching the season by ignoring the competition (other players on the team) and just focusing on what he needs to do in order to make the Ichi-gun roster come opening day.

...Norihiro Akahoshi dropped by the Naruohama training grounds on Tuesday for a TV show recording.

The Tigers are currently in the process of deciding when to hold Akahoshi's retirement game.  At this point, it seems like it's a toss up between an exhibition game against the Bay Stars on 3/13 or an exhibition game against the Giants on 3/14 (both at Koshien Stadium).

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Masataka Nashida told reporters that he'll be taking Sho Nakata to Ichi-gun Spring camp next year.  Nashida will also likely give Nakata a shot to bat fourth, provided he puts up results.  And if he doesn't, Nashida will quickly send him on his way to Ni-gun training camp.

...Nashida mentioned that Yu Darvish could still be the opening day starter.  A lot will depend on how things go over the next few months, but even Darvish said that he wouldn't mind taking the mound on opening day without making any exhibition game starts.  All Darvish wants are enough bullpen sessions to keep him in shape.

...About 200 active and retired players gathered at a party celebrating the induction of former Nippon Ham Fighters owner Yoshinori Ohkoso (born 2/1/1915 - dec. 4/27/2005) to the Hall of Fame.

Seibu Lions

...Hideaki Wakui seemed pretty upset during his press conference yesterday when he said that he put the Lions' offer on hold.  He told reporters that the Lions didn't appear to understand the significance of winning the Sawamura Award.

The front office's response?

"He's a number 1 pitcher.  We feel we offered him what he deserves.  The team's record is also important.  We assessed all the games that were played right up until the point where we were factored out of the Climax Series. ... Winning the Sawamura Award is the result of playing well over the course of a season.  We took a look at each game and based our offer on that.  The [Sawamura] Award itself means nothing to our assessment."

Softbank Hawks

...Hidenori Tanoue was apparently hoping the club would offer him something closer to 65M-70M yen range instead of 48M yen.

This does seem a bit hypocritical for a club that turned down Kenji Johjima because they already had Tanoue.  I think the minute they turned down Johjima, the Hawks lost any sort of negotiating leverage they might have had with Tanoue.

Yakult Swallows

...Shinya Miyamoto wants the Swallows to try and work out a deal with the Jingu Stadium management office to allow players time to practice after night games next season.

Yomiuri Giants

...As briefly mentioned in another post, Ichiro Suzuki will be working out at the Giants' training grounds in Kawasaki this winter.  The Giants are hoping Ichiro will be able to spend some time with some of their younger players and provide them with some pointers.

...The Giants championship trip to Australia is winding down.  Some of the players snorkeling on the last day while others took hot-air balloon rides.  The players will be heading back to Japan later tonight.