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Around the NPB Horn: Norichika Aoki wants practice facilities

by on Dec.27, 2009 @ 5:12 pm, under NPB

Chiba Lotte Marines

...Yoshihisa Naruse donated 1.1M yen (100,000 yen for every victory) to Tochigi Prefecture to help promote the growth of baseball.

Chunichi Dragons

...Takuya Asao will try not to pay too much attention to the count next season when he pitches.  Against the Swallows in 2009, he found himself grooving pitches when he fell behind in the count (or in an effort to get ahead in the count).

Hanshin Tigers

...Takahiro Arai closed out his training for the year on Saturday and told reporters that he's looking forward to facing Tetsuya Yamaguchi as a starter in 2010.

Arai also said that he plans on continuing his training despite returning to Hiroshima for New Years and will try to return to Osaka as soon as possible for training.

...Minoru Iwata said that keeping Tetsuya Matsumoto and Hayato Sakamoto off the base paths is an important key in beating the Giants.  The two players combined to go 7-for-12 against Iwata in 2009.

...Akinobu Mayumi is happy to hear that Tetsuya Yamaguchi is making the conversion to starter because it means he won't be around to pitch later in the game.

...Satoru Kanemura wants to be in Okinawa for Spring camp with the Ichi-gun roster.  But it seems there's also a good chance that he might be assigned to the Ni-gun roster for Spring camp at Kochi.  Kanemura would like to start his third year in a Tigers' uniform at Ichi-gun, not only to show that he belongs, but also because it's much warmer in Okinawa.

Hiroshima Carp

...Tetsuya Kokubo will be training alongside Seiichi Uchikawa again in early January.  He's been picking up bits of advice on hitting from Uchikawa over the years.

...The Carp will be looking to add a foreign player to the roster by March as they don't appear to be in a huge rush to find a pitcher to fill the hole left by Colby Lewis' departure.  And it seems they weren't entirely satisfied with their list of possible replacement players after checking on video they had.  Seems the Carp will focus most of their attention to players that are not on the MLB 40-man rosters.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Yoshinori Tateyama plans on fasting again to close out the New Year.

...The Fighters have been sending their scouts to check on their newly drafted prospects to ensure that everything is going alright with the training session.  The Fighters are also making surprise checks on Sho Nakata to make sure that he's doing preparing for the 2010 season.

...Fighters' mascot B.B re-signed for 800 masco (no change).  B.B's dream is to play a baseball game between mascots and to start up a band with other mascots.

He showed up for his contract negotiations with long hair dyed brown.

...Tomotaka Sakaguchi will be trying out cleats with 3 spikes next season (down from the usual 5).  The 3-spike design apparently puts less strain on the feet and legs.

Orix Buffaloes

...Akinobu Okada told reporters that he's still planning on donating money to the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society in order to help lions in the wild.  During his tenure with the Hanshin Tigers, Okada donated 9,000 yen for every win his team recorded (240).

Since Okada wasn't managing last year, he simply donated a set amount of money.  Moving forward, Okada will likely continue donating a set amount instead of tying it into any specific stats goals.  He also plans on adding elephants to the cause.

Rakuten Eagles

...Masahiro Tanaka told reporters that he grew 1.7 cm this year (185.9 > 187.6).

Seibu Lions

...G.G. Sato is apparently planning on holing himself up in some "power spot" during the off-season for training.

Yakult Swallows

...Norichika Aoki still hasn't re-signed with the Swallows, not because of a difference in money, but because of the poor practice conditions.  During the off-season, players can't use Jingu Stadium for practice and more times than not, the indoor practice facilities aren't open to players because they're being used for other events.

...Kazuki Fukuchi plans on starting up his training in the new year on 1/5.  Fukuchi also plans on starting his running program on 1/5 after holding off on running since after the end of the season (he's been focusing primarily on weight training so far).

...Shinichi Takeuchi, working his way back from left knee surgery, will be heading to Saipan for training in January.  And while Takeuchi has been taking swings of the bat, he doesn't plan on hitting any balls until he gets to Saipan.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...Kosuke Kato hopes to appear in at least 60 games next season.

...Noriharu Yamazaki is tweaking his batting stance for the 2010 season.  He's now holding his bat parallel to the ground while he waits for the pitch and has also started using a lighter bat (910 > 870 grams).

Yomiuri Giants

...Tetsuya Utsumi is working on picking up a cutter this off-season.  Yuya Kubo apparently showed him how to grip the ball.  And it seems Utsumi is giving advice to Tetsuya Yamaguchi on how to throw a curve.

Utsumi closed out his final training of the year on Monday with about 4 hours of training that included some running and weight lifting.

...Shun Tohno is hoping to sell vegetables from his home town Hokota City, Ibaraki at Tokyo Dome next season.  Hokota is famous for its vegetables.

Tohno was made an ambassador to Hokota last year.

It seems Hokota City is also thinking about naming a road after Tohno.