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Around the NPB Horn: Hawks thinking about offering star players big contracts

by on Jan.01, 2010 @ 5:30 pm, under NPB

Chunichi Dragons

...Nagoya Baseball Stadium is currently closed for New Years.  Despite this, reporters found Hidenori practicing at the park for about an hour and a half on Thursday.  Seems he wanted to get in some last-minute practicing before heading back to his home in Gifu.

...Now that Kazuyoshi Tatsunami is retired, Sponichi wonders which player Hiromitsu Ochiai will turn to when he needs a big hit.  Dragons' pinch-hitters batted .204 in 2009.  Tatsunami batted .290 average in pinch-hit situations.  Take away Tatsunami's at bats and Dragons' pinch-hitters went .165.

Hanshin Tigers

...As usual, Tomoaki Kanemoto and Takahiro Arai were found working out at a gym in Hiroshima on New Years Day.  The two worked out for about an hour lifting weights.

...Minoru Iwata also started the new year with some training.  He'll be heading out to Kagoshima sometime later this month to work out with Softbank Hawk Toshiya Sugiuchi.

Hiroshima Carp

...Kenjiro Nomura told reporters that he would like to go with a set line-up this season, unlike his predecessor that liked to change the line-up on a daily basis.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Yu Darvish has his sights set on 20 wins in 2010.

Orix Buffaloes

...Akinobu Okada would like to use some of the information he picked up while being an analyst in 2009 towards managing in 2010.  One of his big focuses for new season will likely be pitching.  Okada also told reporters that his kanji for 2010 is shin (新), or new.

Rakuten Eagles

...Teppei told reporters that he plans on spending some time during the off-season to strengthen his neck.  He was apparently told by doctors that his neck wasn't very strong.

Teppei will begin training in Chiba later this month before heading out to Spring camp in February.

...Marty Brown plans on checking into Sendai on January 5th.  Most foreign managers usually fly into Japan around the 20th, but Brown apparently wants to get a head start on the 2010 season -- he specifically wants to take a look at some of the rookies at early camp that begins on the 13th.

...Sponichi notes that the Eagles went 9-15 during Inter-league play in 2009.

Seibu Lions

...Hideaki Wakui wants to help his team win it all in 2010 and also take the MVP award.

Softbank Hawks

...The Hawks are currently thinking about offering big, long-term contracts (3-5 years) to their star players in an effort to keep them from hitting the FA market.  These star players would likely include Munenori Kawasaki, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Toshiya Sugiuchi.  Kawasaki and Wada could earn their FA option this season while Sugiuchi is currently on track to earn his FA option next season.

...Hiroki Kokubo spent about 2 and a half hours training at Yahoo Dome on Thursday.

...Head coach Daijiro Ohishi believes health will be a big factor in how far the Hawks go in 2010.

...Koji Akiyama wants his team to focus on running and fielding in 2010.  He also plans on having a number of different line-ups depending on the starting pitcher and stadium.  For example: Jose Ortiz could be used in left and third; Nobuhiro Matsuda could be used at third and right; Hiroki Kokubo could be used at first and at DH; Nobuhiko Matsunaka could be used at DH and left; and Bum-Ho Lee at first, third and DH.

Yakult Swallows

...Sanspo is posted a message from Norichika Aoki to their readers.  In his message, Aoki looks back at the 2009 season and outlines some of the problems the team had.  He also specifically mentions improving their record against the Giants as a goal in 2010.  Aoki closes out his message by saying that he'll be shooting to win it all this year.

Yomiuri Giants

...The Giants plan on keeping Ishin (維新), or restoration / revolution / rebirth, as their slogan for 2010.  According to Hara, while the team did manage to win it all in 2009, they only played at about 70%.

Others

...Life after baseball: Norihiro Akahoshi joins Sponichi as a baseball analyst.