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Around the NPB Horn: Hiroyuki Nakajima wants to play in the Majors

by on Jan.03, 2010 @ 3:37 pm, under NPB

Chiba Lotte Marines

...The Japan Air Self-Defense Force recently conducted an interview with Tadahito Iguchi.  His interview will apparently be published in their March bulletin called Tsubasa.

Chunichi Dragons

...Kazuki Yoshimi threw for the first time in 2010 on Saturday.  He also did some running and worked out for about 2 hours.  Yoshimi is currently working on tweaking his delivery.  Last season, with runners on base, Yoshimi held opponents to a .218 batting average.  But with the bases empty, that average went up to .253.

Hanshin Tigers

...The Hanshin Department store's Tigers Shop in Osaka prepared 500 fukubukuros for sale on Saturday.  Each bag was priced at 5,000 yen.  While the store wasn't set to open until 9:30am, tickets for all 500 bags were handed out by 7:20am.

...Yuya Nohara, Hiroki Uemoto, and Shintaro Tanaka also started up their training for the 2010 season on January 1st and joined Tomoaki Kanemoto and Takahiro Arai at the same gym in Hiroshima.

...Speaking of Kanemoto, it seems he's slowly beginning to see the end of his career, or rather, if he isn't careful, will begin to see the end of his career.  He told reporters that if his 2010 season ends up in much the same way as his 2009 season, he'll likely be closer to the end of his career.  The 2010 season could be a big turning point for Kanemoto.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Shinji Takahashi re-started his training Saturday and worked out for about 3 hours doing things like running, playing catch, and lifting weights.  And while he will continue to focus on first base as his primary position, he also plans on keeping up with his work outs behind home plate as well.

...The Ni-gun team is planning on playing a game in the town of Engaru this year.  The Fighters are hoping to increase the exposure of their Ni-gun team in Hokkaido.  If the plans works out, this will be the first time the Ni-gun team plays a game in Engaru.

Rakuten Eagles

...Katsuya Nomura loves the fact that Takeshi Yamasaki got a 2-year extension from the Eagles.  He told reporters that Yamasaki will continue to put up numbers, this despite the fact that he'll be 43 in the second year of his contract.

Seibu Lions

...Hisanobu Watanabe and Hideaki Wakui made appearances at a Seibu store in Tokorozawa on Saturday.  Prior to their appearance, Wakui apparently made a comment about wanting to try his hand at closing.  When Watanabe was later asked what his thought were on Wakui closing, he said that while it might be good for Wakui to pitch out of the bullpen, he was far too important to take out of the rotation.

Watanabe also said that he wanted to bat Dee Brown behind clean-up batter Takeya Nakamura.  As for Brian Sikorski, depending on Alex Graman's health, he could be in the running for team closer, including other pitchers like Chikara Onodera and  Kimiyasu Kudo.

...About 1,500 people showed up at a hotel in Tokyo for a talk event with Hiroyuki Nakajima and G.G. Sato on Saturday.  And it seems most of those people were there to see Nakajima, as G.G. Sato commented that he was so surprised to see that Nakajima had so many fans.

G.G. Sato told fans that he wants to make good on his promise from last year: to hit 20 more home runs that Nakajima.  Sato ended the 2009 season with only 3 more home runs than Nakajima.

Nakajima told fans he wants to become the first Japanese right-handed hitter to collect 200 hits in the NPB.  He also said that he wants to become a player good enough to participate in the Majors and would like to head overseas at some point in the future.

Softbank Hawks

...Tu-Hsuan Lee re-started his training on Saturday at Yahoo Dome and worked out for about 2 hours.  Lee plans on heading out to Okinawa on the 4th for training and will join Chiba Lotte Marine Tadahito Iguchi on the 5th.

Yakult Swallows

...Yoshinori Sato met with Sendai Ikuei manager, Junichiro Sasaki, on Saturday for a mini New Year's celebration.  Sasaki was Sato's manager at Sendai Ikuei High School.

Sato plans on using his old high school's facilities to work out during the off-season.  He was also reminded by his former manager that he used to throw 200 pitches a day when he was in high school and that throwing a lot was on way to help improve stamina.  To that end, Sato's goal for Spring camp will be to throw 2,000 pitches.  Last season, most pitchers on the team averaged about 1,600 pitches during Spring camp.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...Shuichi Murata is working on losing some weight and strengthening his body during the off-season.  Murata suffered two hamstring injuries in 2009 and wants to try to avoid that in 2010.  He's also switching to a lighter pair of cleats (a drop of 80 grams per cleat from 380 grams).

Yomiuri Giants

...Tetsuya Utsumi was found working out on January 1st.  He ran, did some sprints, and played some catch -- all told, he worked out for about 2 and a half hours.  Utsumi plans on heading out to Guam for training beginning on the 5th.