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Around the NPB Horn: Swallows closing in on a 3-year deal with Ishikawa

by on Dec.20, 2009 @ 3:15 pm, under NPB

Chunichi Dragons

...Appearing on a TV program called Dora HOT on Saturday, Masahiro Araki told viewers that he plans on fulfilling a promise he made to Norihiro Akahoshi by winning the stolen base title in 2010.  Araki hopes to steal at least 50 bases.

Hanshin Tigers

...Hirotaka Egusa is looking forward working alongside Casey Fossum and is hoping to pick up a few things from him, including the Fossum flip (or any sort of curve).

Incidentally, it seems there's a chance the Tigers might use Fossum as a starter next season.  But that will depend on how Egusa and Kazuya Tsutsui do.  The team's primary goal next season will be to plug holes in the bullpen.  It seems the same will go for Randy Messenger.

...Yuya Nohara plans on learning a few things from G.G. Sato during the off-season if their schedules match-up.  The two first met three years ago.

...The Tigers went 5-20-1 during Saturday games this past season.

Hiroshima Carp

...Kenta Kurihara has hit a home run in 17 different ballparks over his career.  Kurihara was also the first player to hit home runs at three stadiums that opened this year: Miyoshi Kinsai Stadium, Hard Off Eco Stadium Niigata, and Mazda Stadium.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Seems the Fighters aren't going to let Sho Nataka hang up his infielder's glove just yet.  Despite plans to convert him into an outfielder next season, Nakata will be taking fielding practice in both the outfield and infield.  That could lead to over 100 hours of "overtime" on the field during Spring camp.

...Kazumasa Kikuchi told reporters that he's working on improving the health of his body during the off-season.  To that end, he has modified his diet and has stopped eating meat, friend foods, and alcohol.  In place of that, he has incorporated more vegetables into his meals.

Orix Buffaloes

...Kazuki Kondo has an acquaintance that practices Feng Shui.  That acquaintance told Kondo that in order to help rid the body of a year's worth of exhaustion, he should talk 10 hours in a direction that is lucky for him.  For Kondo, that direction was west.

On the 14th, Kondo set out for his 10 hour walk at 8am.  Later that day, with the sun setting, Kondo was stopped by a police officer and questioned.  The police officer didn't know who he was and was apparently worried that he might be a runaway (even at 26 years of age).

...200 fans showed up for a "Thank you Kobe" event on Saturday at Hotel New Otani Kobe Harborland.  Kondo, Mamoru Kishida, and Keiji Obiki were part of the event.

...Akinobu Okada will send 6 lucky winners of a drawing a personalized New Year's Card.  Interested fans can check the Buffaloes' site for more information on how to enter.

Rakuten Eagles

...Teppei will be shooting for 200 hits in 2010 and a 200M yen salary in 2011.  (He managed to raise his salary into the 100M yen for the 2010 season.)

...Katsuya Nomura's kanji for 2009 is apparently "情," which means feelings or sentiment, something he says was missing from the Eagles front office this year.

Seibu Lions

...Instead of heading for the warmer regions of Okinawa, Kimiyasu Kudo is thinking about doing his January training in Chiba.  He apparently thinks the colder weather will give him a better feel for shoulder. Kudo has never worked out in Chiba during the off-season before.

...About 300 fans showed up to catch Ginjiro at a Christmas event at Seibu Tokorozawa on Saturday.  He told fans at the store that he made a promise with the store manager that if the Lions won the series next year, the store would hold a 70% off sale.

Softbank Hawks

...Munenori Kawasaki held a baseball clinic on Saturday for about 142 elementary school kids in Buzen City, Fukuoka.  Kawasaki has been working out every day during the off-season so far and doesn't plan on taking any days off until Spring camp.

Kawasaki is 143 games away from reaching 1,000 for his career.

...Tadashi Settsu and Hidenori Tanoue appeared on a local TV sports program called VIVA!! Sportas on Saturday night.

Settsu will decided to ditch the red-colored glove he had been using up until now for a black-colored glove.  Settsu doesn't throw a fork, but apparently isn't much easier for the batter to pick-up on a fork ball grasp when the pitcher is using a red glove (Settsu throws a sinker, slider, curve, and fastball).

You can see an image of Settsu with his new glove over here.

Yakult Swallows

...Masanori Ishikawa was manager for the day at S'Port Mizuno on Saturday.

It seems the Swallows have also been talking to Ishikawa about a 4-year deal worth 860M yen.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...During a fan event in Yokohama on Saturday, Daisuke Miura said that he was thinking about throwing an 80 km/h off-speed pitch to Kenji Johjima during their first match-up on 3/26 at Kyocera Dome.  Miura is currently in the middle of a 7-game losing streak for opening day games but is 41-19 against the Tigers over his career.

About 400 fans showed up for the event.

...The Bay Stars will be sending advanced scouts out to keep an eye on all Central League teams.  It's part of Takao Obana's Analyzing Baseball project.

Last season, the Bay Stars had only 6 advanced scouts.  They have increased that to 9 for the 2010 season and will assign at least one scout for each team in the Central League, including one scout for the Pacific League (needed for Inter-league play).

Yomiuri Gants

...Hidetoshi Tsuburaya and his wife Izumi held a wedding ceremony on Saturday.  The two filed marriage papers back in April.

Tetsuya Matsumoto attended the wedding and said that he was looking for a marriage partner -- Maomi Yuki is apparently his type.

...Michihiro Ogasawara was a guest on Nippon Broadcasting's Kiyotaka Nanbara's Sports Dream on Saturday.  He spoke about his theories on hitting and also spoke about some things from his private life.