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Around the NPB Horn: Shinnosuke Abe gives up his MLB dreams

by on Jan.10, 2010 @ 1:57 pm, under NPB

Chiba Lotte Marines

...Toshiaki Imae's theme for 2010 is change.  As in, he plans to make some changes in the way he prepares for the season.

Imae had been on a low card diet for 2 years that saw his weight drop from 93kg to 86km.  But during those two years, he also suffered a hamstring injury.  Beginning this off-season, Imae is working carbs back into his diet and has increased his weight to 88kg.  He also plans to hit the batting cages this month, something he normally doesn't do.

Chunichi Dragons

...The new pitch Hitoki Iwase is currently working on is apparently called a slunker (a cross between a slider and a sinker).

Hanshin Tigers

...Appearing on a TV program called Seyahen (せやねん) on Saturday, Akinobu Mayumi said the he currently has Tomoaki Kanemoto penciled in as the clean-up hitter and that Kenji Johjima won't be hitting in the clean-up spot because he wants him to focus on his defense.

Mayumi also said that he's hoping Matt Murton will be able to fill in for the recently retired Norihiro Akahoshi (in other words, he'll be playing center field).  While Mayumi has never seen Murton play, he has heard that his defense is very good.

In general, Mayumi will be focusing on defense first.

...Akihiro Yano held a baseball clinic for kids in Nara on Saturday; about 150 showed up.

During a speech he gave to the children that attended, he told them that he would still work very hard despite the addition of Johjima to the team.  He then added that everyone else shouldn't give up either and to keep practicing.

...Takemi Nishibori (beach volleyball), Satoko Urata (beach volleyball), Sachiyo Yamada (lacrosse), and Ai Origake (golf) all worked out with Kenji Johjima on Saturday.  Johjima is hoping to play in every inning of every game in 2010 and to that end has hired Akinori Maruo to be his personal trainer.

About 80 reporters (including about 10 TV cameras) and about 50 fans showed up for Johjima's training session.

...Kyuji Fujikawa headed for Okinawa on Saturday.  He plans on re-starting his training on Sunday.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...One of the reason's why Yu Darvish wanted to check out Tomoaki Kanemoto's training session the other day was to gain some insight into how he might be able to help Sho Nakata train.

...The Fighters are thinking about sending Brian Wolfe and Bob Keppel on a tour to check out sumo stables to help them learn a little more about the Japanese culture.

Orix Buffaloes

...Akinobu Okada appears to have given up on the idea that Tuffy Rhodes will be returning to the Buffaloes in 2010.

Softbank Hawks

...Koji Akiyama told reporters on Saturday that he plans on playing Bum-Ho Lee in every game (exhibition and practice) during Spring camp.  The idea here is to make sure he's relaxed and mentally prepared when the regular season begins.

Yomiuri Giants

...Daisuke Nakai is  hoping to take 10,000 swings of the bat during his 10-day training session in Okinawa.

...Shinnosuke Abe told reporters that he has given up on his dream to play in the Majors.  He feels he won't be able to make it because he hasn't put up good numbers in Japan and because his English isn't good.

...Head coach Haruki Ihara feels that Seung-Yeop Lee will play an important role for the Giants in 2010.