...Junki Ito would like a shot at being the opening day starter next year. Of course, that means he'll have to show he's a better option than Wei-Ying Chen and Kazuki Yoshimi. But that doesn't mean Ito doesn't have a chance. Takuya Asao was the opening day pitcher for the Dragons this past season.
...This will be the first time Tomoaki Kanemoto enters a new year without having re-signed a contract yet. Next year marks Kanemoto's 19th pro season.
...The Tigers are planning on holding a ceremony for Tomoaki Kanemoto on 4/24 at Koshien Stadium. Why a ceremony? Because that's when he's set to appear in his 1,500th consecutive game without missing an inning. Of course, this is all assuming there are no rain dates.
...The Tigers have decided to invite Aikido teacher Tomio Watanabe to be a guest lecturer at Ni-gun Spring camp next season.
The Tigers' have invited various sports figures through the years to give lectures at their training camps.
...Kenji Johjima plans on working out at the Sasebo in January before heading out to Okinawa for Ichi-gun Spring camp.
...Akihiro Yano is working towards making sure that he'll be ready for Spring camp on 2/1 and as such will be training through New Years break.
...Naoto Tsuru will be joining Tomoyuki Kubota at Okinawa for about 10 days of training in January.
...Shigenobu Shima had a physical and was given a clean bill of health on Sunday. He'll be allowed to start up his training in January.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...The Fighters are building a Darvish Library at their Ni-gun player dorms in Kamagaya. The library will house a bunch of DVDs packed full of Yu Darvish game footage. The Fighters are also thinking about trying to film some "behind-the-scene" footage as well (his training, his thoughts).
...Tomochika Tsuboi held a 2-hour long baseball clinic for 128 elementary school kids on Sunday in Sapporo. It was the first time he held a clinic under his own name. Ryuichi Watanabe also took part in the clinic as Tsuboi's helper.
...Akinobu Okada is wiping the slate clean with Satoshi Komatsu and Yoshihisa Hirano. That will likely leave two spots open in the rotation. Komatsu and Hirano, along with pitchers like Hiroshi Kisanuki and Masaki Ihara will be competing for those two spots.
...Hisashi Iwakuma is taking things slow with his training right now. So for he's only played some light catch about twice this off-season. His goal next season is to win his 100th game (9 more victories) and win a championship.
Iwakuma will also be guest on a February 5th broadcast of NHK's Top Runner.
...Kimiyasu Kudo worked out at Bay Stars Stadium for the last time on Sunday.
...Toshiya Sugiuchi has his eyes set on his 100th victory next season. But he'll need a really strong season to hit that number -- he's 21 games short of the milestone.
...Nobuhiro Matsuda, Yusuke Kosai, and Hiroaki Takaya will be tagging along with Nobuhiko Matsunaka when he goes to Guam for training next month.
Matsuda is hoping to be ready for Spring camp on 2/1.
Seems its Yuki's dream to train with both her older brother and Norichika Aoki. Aoki is apparently Yuki's model baseball player.
...Masanori Ishikawa has a creative side to him.
He designed practice uniforms for his old high school team and will be sending them a full set for use next year. Ishikawa also designed a figurine (Katsuo Boy) that he showed off during his contract negotiations last year that the club produced for mass consumption back in August.
Yokohama Bay Stars
...Seiichi Uchikawa is thinking about giving away pink sweatbands to children in elementary school and younger at a game next season. He plans to sit down with the club sometime in January to flesh out the details. It's all part of his effort to do more for the fans.
...Position change? With the Bay Stars set to welcome Jose Castillo, Kazuya Fujita may be out as the team's second baseman. To that end, the Bay Stars have asked Fujita to prepare for a season at short. But it seems Fujita isn't ready to simply give second base up to Castillo without a fight.
...Takahiko Nomaguchi is working on some changes with his delivery, primarily with his lower body. Seems he picked up a few ideas from watching Yu Darvish's Nippon Series game 2 performance, i.e., more isn't always better.
...Tetsuya Utsumi's three goals for the current off-season: strengthening his lower body, increasing velocity, and picking up a cutter.
Utsumi plans on heading to Guam for 2 weeks in January for training -- he'll also be taking along his personal trainer.
...Takahiro Suzuki took 400 cuts during soft toss practice on Monday. He's working on a closed batting stance this off-season.