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Around the NPB Horn: Tatsunori Hara picks up yet another award

by on Dec.26, 2009 @ 4:48 pm, under NPB

Chiba Lotte Marines

...Toshiaki Imae promised to donate monye towards children's cancer examinations next year.  He plans on giving at least 10,000 yen for every RBI he records.

Imae lost his mother earlier this year in February to cancer; she was only 50.

Chunichi Dragons

...Masahiro Yamamoto would like to pitch for as long as Kimiyasu Kudo has.  Assuming Kudo pitches just 1 more season, Yamamoto would have another 4 seasons to go.

Hanshin Tigers

...Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Kyuji Fujikawa, Yasutomo Kubo, Takashi Toritani, and Tomoaki Kanemoto will be going into 2010 without contracts.

...Seems the Tigers might give Casey Fossum a serious shot in the rotationRandy Messenger will be used out of the pen.  The Tigers also plan on using both Matt Murton and Craig Brazell in as many exhibition games as possible.

...Kubo plans on working out on News Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

...Kenta Abe plans on adding golf to his training.  Instead of riding carts on the course, he plans on running from hole to hole.

...Keiichi Hirano will likely continue carrying four types of cleats with him next year: one for sunny weather, one for rainy weather, one for artificial turf, and one for dirt.

...Tomoyuki Kubota is thinking about heading out to Okinawa in early January to get a head-start on his training.  Kubota went on a fast for 5 days earlier this month and managed to drop about 4kg off his 97kg frame.

...The Tigers will be spending about 30M yen to install 80 sprinklers near some netting on the first base side.  The netting was originally installed this past season when left-handed pitchers were having trouble with the sun getting into their eyes.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...The Fighters front office closed out their final day of operation in 2009 on Saturday.  They celebrated the end of the year with ham and sushi.

...The Fighters will be starting a Fighters Foundation next season.  The foundation's aim will be to provide help and support to local communities on a team level.

Orix Buffaloes

...Keiji Ohbiki and Mamoru Kishida will be dropping by Kamisumuchi Temple in January to ward off bad spirits.  Both will be going for different reasons though.

Kishida visited the temple in January this year and ended up recording his first 10-win season.  He's going in order to keep the good fortune flow.

Ohbiki suffered a second consecutive season cut short by an HBP that fractured his left wrist this year (in 2008, is was his right index finger).  He's going in hopes to end his streak of HBP induced bone fractures.

The temple is run by Ohbiki's family.

Rakuten Eagles

...Masahiro Tanaka's contract of 180M yen is the second highest for a 4th year player (after Yu Darvish's 200M yen).

Katsuya Nomura's response to Tanaka's contract, "But I'm getting zero next year.  I wonder if he should be satisfied with 180M yen.  He still has a long way to go.  He needs to think about what he needs to do in order to become a 300M, 500M pitcher.  And pro baseball players don't have security after they retire."

Softbank Hawks

...Hiroki Kokubo wants to have another 30 home run season.  And it seems he's picked up some pointers from a TV interview he saw with Hideki Matsui.  In order to generate more power, Matsui started swinging the bat a little earlier.  Kokubo will try doing the same next saeason.

...Former head / infield and base running coach Hiroshi Moriwaki dropped by Yahoo Dome on Friday in order to ask the club not to fire coaches late in the off-season when most staffing decisions have already been made.  Seems he's also looking for an explanation as to why he was let go.

Morikawa was fired by the Hawks on November 23th and was not able to find a new coaching job.

...Nobuhiko Matsunaka would like to set aside some seats next season for children with incurable diseases.

Yakult Swallows

...Nikkan Sports says that Masanori Ishikawa's 4-year deal will likely be worth more than 800M yen.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...Seiichi Uchikawa held a Christmas event called Uchikawa Seiichi Christmas Fan Meeting for fans on Friday.  About 200 people showed up to see Uchikawa.  His mother also made a surprise guest appearance.

Yomiuri Giants

...Seems Tatsunori Hara picked up another piece of hardware for his mantle: the Friends of the United Nations' Global Tolerance Award.  He becomes the first Japanese person to win the award.

...Ichi-gun pitching coach Masaki Saito told reporters that he plans on being tough with pitchers in the starting rotation next season.  Saito is known as "Mr. Complete Game" after his 1989 season in which he picked up 11 consecutive complete game victories, most in NPB history.

...Tetsuya Yamaguchi is working on picking up a curve this off-season.  Unfortunately, it seems it's turning out to look more like a slider, at least according to Tetsuya Utsumi.