...For the first time in 8 years, Masahiro Yamamoto is hoping to start the season at Ichi-gun Spring camp.
...Tomoaki Kanemoto and Takahiro Arai told reporters on Tuesday that their training is going well and that they're feeling better than they were last off-season -- Arai was recovering from a stress fracture he suffered during the Beijing Olympics and Kanemoto was still recovering from knee surgery.
...As mentioned yesterday, Kentaro Sekimoto is currently in the midst of trying to hit 10,000 swings during his private training his session. He started his training back on the 6th and is trying to average about 600-700 swings a day. His training session will last about 18 days.
...Akinobu Mayumi is thinking about sitting down to eat with the foreign players during Spring camp again. Seems he might rely on Kenji Johjima to be his interpreter.
...According to an article by Nikkan Sports, it seems Randy Messenger is looking forward to working with Kenji Johjima this year. He told a Nikkan Sports reporter that the two of them were on the same page almost 99% of the time.
Johjima apparently pushed hard to get Messenger on the Tigers.
...The Tigers are trying to get some upgrades done to the stadium they'll be using during Spring camp in Ginoza, Okinawa. That includes upgrades to the seats, adding an electric scoreboard, adding a training gym, and creating an indoor bullpen. Cost is obviously a factor so not everything the team wants will be upgraded.
...Shigeru Kobayashi will be getting a special corner in the Koshien Museum of History.
...The media found out on Wednesday that Takahiro Aoki will be marrying a Asako Yoshimi (sp? 吉見朝子). The two met each other in college and had been dating ever since. They both dropped by the Carp offices on Wednesday to notify the team of their decision and will be filing marriage papers at some point before the start of Spring camp.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...The Fighters would like to figure out who will replace Shigeru Kobayashi before their staff meetings on the 26th. Masataka Nashida will likely inform the club of what he's thinking on or after the 22nd.
...The Buffaloes are thinking about pairing Aarom Baldiris up with Alex Cabrera this season. The two speak the same language (Cabrera apparently doesn't speak any English) and could help comfort one another.
...The Eagles will be giving Koji Mitsui a tryout during Spring camp. They're currently looking for someone to help out of the bullpen. Especially important since Kenta Satake had surgery on his left elbow back in November and will likely be out until about June.
...Marty Brown wants Norihiro Nakamura to start the year at Ichi-gun Spring camp.
...Hiromichi Fujiwara is currently working out in Okinawa with five other Eagles' pitchers. Fujiwara is hoping to win and keep a position in the starting rotation this year.
Fujiwara has gotten up to the point where he's playing catch at distances of 70 meters.
...Kazuo Fukumori (one of the other five pitchers currently working out in Okinawa) told reporters on Wednesday that his long-term goal is reaching 500 career appearances (he's sitting on 412) and that his immediate goal this season will be to pitch in 50 games.
...Hiroki Kokubo is currently working out in Arizona. Kokubo has managed to gain 4kg and has his sights set on hitting at least 30 home runs this year. He's currently studying Hideki Matsui's swing for hints on how to swing the bat. Kokubo also swung the bat for the first time on the 18th (US time).
...Still recovering from knee surgery, the Hawks decided it would be best if Nobuhiko Matsunaka started working out under a separate training menu during Spring camp. If he's feeling alright, he will be allowed to join the rest of the team for training.
Matsunaka is working out in Guam and has begun running and playing catch. He has already gone on record to say that he won't be taking any BP until Spring camp.
...While there were some rumors that Nobuhiro Matsuda might get a shot to play the outfield during Spring camp, it seems that won't be the case. Outfield / base running coach Tatsuya Ide told reporters that the team will have Matsuda and Bum-Ho Lee play it out for first as if there were no other options for them.
...Nagisa Arakaki will also likely start the year at B group Spring camp.
Hirooka spent about 3 hours at their training session.
...Tsuyoshi Ueda wants to become the next player to wear Aoki's old uniform number, 23.
Yokohama Bay Stars
...Takao Obana told reporters that he plans to go with a 5-man rotation this year. He said that the number 6 pitcher usually ends up losing anyway and would rather stick with a 5-man rotation. He also said that if the starters can go 3-2 each time through, they could end the season 28 games over 500.
Looks like it could be a rotation of Daisuke Miura, Naoyuki Shimizu, Stephen Randolph, Hayato Terahara, and Shun Yamaguchi.
...Taishi Ohta took a driver's license test on the 18th and passed on his first try with a 92.
Ohta realizes that as much as his bat will be important for his success, so will his defense.
...About 100 former teammates attended Toshiaki Takemiya's funeral on Tuesday.
...Funeral services were held for Masumi Kuwata's father on Tuesday. About 300 people showed up.
...Akinobu Okada and Akinobu Mayumi spoke of a Kansai Nippon Series during a gathering of former Hanshin Tigers payers on Tuesday.