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Around the NPB Horn: Norichika Aoki gets a contract worth 280M yen for 2010

by on Jan.19, 2010 @ 12:58 am, under NPB

Chiba Lotte Marines

...Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Saburo are working out in Ishigakijima, Okinawa.  Masato Watanabe and Masahiko Tanaka are currently working out with them.  All four players appear to be progressing on schedule.

Kobayashi will be returning to Tokyo on the 22nd and is hoping to hold a bullpen session at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Saburo told reporters that he doesn't care how he does this season so long as the team wins.

Chunichi Dragons

...The Dragons held a staff meeting on Monday to work out their Spring camp schedules.

Camp will begin on 2/1 in Okinawa
Days off will fall on 2/8, 15, and 22
7 practice games will be played against teams like Rakuten Eagles and four teams from the KBO

Nippon Ham Fighters

...Eiichi Koyano appeared at a talk event on Sunday involving a number of other athletes from various sports.  One of them happened to be wheelchair basketball player Kazuyuki Kyoya.

Koyano was apparently interested in working out with Kyoya and asked if he could train with him at some point.

Orix Buffaloes

...Hiroshi Kisanuki opened up his training to reporters on Monday.  His training at Skymark Stadium included playing catch at a distance of about 50 meters.  He's hoping to find a spot in the starting rotation.

...Osamu Hamanaka spent some time in the batting cages on Monday.  He's currently working out with Yakult Swallow Atsushi Fujimoto in Kobe.

Hamanaka has been working on strengthening his lower body during the off-season.

Rakuten Eagles

...The Eagles announced on Monday that Spring camp will begin on 2/1 in Kumejima, Okinawa.  Ichi-gun camp will run until the 21st while Ni-gun camp will run until the 24th.

...The Eagles apparently plan on mixing things up at the stadium this year, including having the female stadium DJ make appearances at various locations throughout the ballpark during home games.   They are also thinking about having the DJ introduce the players from within the stands.

Seibu Lions

...Takeya Nakamura opened his training up to the media on Monday and told reporters that he's about 70-80% ready and should be fully prepared by the time Spring camp begins.  Nakamura missed a number of games due last season due to injury and said that his goal for 2010 was to play in every game of the season.  He also plans on working on his defense more this year.

Softbank Hawks

...Hidenori Tanoue finished up his training in Osaka on Sunday and was back in Fukuoka on Monday to continue his workouts.  His hour and a half workout on Monday include soft-toss BP.

Tanoue is set to meet with the team on the 20th for their third contract negotiation meeting.

...Bum-Ho Lee apparently has two different batting stances: one that he used a lot during the WBC last year where he lifted his left leg up pretty high for timing purposes, and another that he used during the 2009 KBO season where he didn't lift his leg much at all.  Lee said that he plans on deciding which stance to use based on the situation.

...Seems D.J. Houlton, Jose Ortiz, and Brian Falkenborg have all started working out: Houlton in Arizona, Ortiz in Florida, and Falkenborg in California.

There was some concern about Falkenborg because he's coming off right elbow pain, but it appears as though he's fine now and should be ready to join the team for Spring camp in February.  In fact, there's even a chance he might be able to hold a bullpen session on the first day of camp.

If everything goes smoothly, Falkenborg will likely arrive in Japan around the 28th.

...Takahiro Mahara and Tadashi Settsu continue to workout in Kumamoto.  Both are apparently doing great and should be 100% ready for Spring camp.

Yakult Swallows

...The Swallows held a press conference on Monday to announce that they re-signed Norichika Aoki to a contract worth 280M yen (up 20M yen) plus incentives and to re-introduce Aoki to the media as the new owner of the uniform number 1.

The last player to wear the number 1 was Akinori Iwamura.

...Hiroyasu Tanaka returned to Japan on Sunday after spending about 2 weeks working out in Arizona.  Tanaka apparently had a chance to meet Brian Roberts during his stay.

Yokohama Bay Stars

...Takehiro Ishikawa is currently working out in Arizona and opened things up to the Japanese press on Saturday (US time).  He's been working out at the Chicago Cubs training facilities since the 13th.

Ishikawa's workouts on Saturday included fielding practice and soft-toss BP.  After practice, he played some baseball with the neighborhood kids.

Ishikawa is hoping to win the lead-off spot and steal at least 30 bases this season.

Yomiuri Giants

...Yoshinobu Takahashi informed the Giants that he would like to start the year with the A group at Spring camp.

The Giants had left it up to Takahashi to decide whether he wanted to start with the A group or the C group.  On Monday, he e-mailed the coaches and told them that he would be ready to work out with the A group team.

...Masahide Kobayashi worked out at the Kawasaki training facilities on Monday.  He spent some of his time playing catch with Takuya Fukata at a distance of about 50 meters.


...The NPB released results to a poll they conducted on young players in the league regarding careers after baseball.  It seems most of them pointed to coaching positions at high school baseball clubs.

271 players in the NPB with an average age of 23.4 and who played an average 6.5 years were polled.  73% said they were interested in high school baseball coaching positions and 24% said that they wanted to find work as high school baseball coaches after they retired.

...About 300 people attended Toshiaki Takemiya's wake on Monday.