Chiba Lotte Marines
...The Mariners plan on taking a look at Makoto Imaoka during the first term of Spring camp (a period of 4 days). The team will decide whether to sign Imaoka to a contract during that 4-day period.
...Tadahito Iguchi started up his practices at Chiba Lotte Marines on Thursday. He had been working out in Okinawa up until the 20th.
Iguchi also had a chance to meet up with Tae-Gyun Kim after practice. The two will begin working out together beginning on the 22nd.
...Ikusei players Candido Jesus and Joaquin Santamaria arrived in Japan on Wednesday and dropped by Nagoya Stadium to take a look at their new digs. Seems they were impressed by the facilities.
...The Carp are planning on inviting Hideo Nomo to be a temporary coach, beginning the second term of Spring camp.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...The starting rotation will likely include Yu Darvish, Masaru Takeda, Tomoya Yagi, Buddy Carlyle, and Bob Keppel. Masanori Hayashi may also be a candidate for the rotation.
...Seems the Buffaloes will be using a private jet plane to transport their players from their Spring camp in Miyakojima to their Spring camp in Kochi.
There is no direct flight between airports in the two locations. While public transportation would take a little over 6 hours due to a stopover, the private jet would allow the team to get to Kochi from Miyakojima in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
...The Buffaloes plan on sending a final notice to Tuffy Rhodes' agents sometime early next week.
...The Buffaloes posted the arrival schedules for their four foreign players yesterday. They are as follows:
Aarom Baldiris - 1/24
Greg LaRocca - 1/27
Jon Leicester - 1/29
Alex Cabrera - 1/30
Of particular interest, it now seems as though Alex Cabrera will be arriving to Spring camp on time. I'm sure that must make the Buffaloes pretty happy.
...Daisuke Kusano gained about 6kg during his private workouts in Miyazaki. He told reporters that he plans on sticking to a diet full of vegetables and will stay away from alcohol until he hits his ideal weight of 78kg. And he intends to drop his weight in time for Spring camp.
...Shingo Matsuzaki is trying to master the change-up during the off-season. And by doing so, he's also hoping to win a spot in the starting rotation. Matsuzaki is currently slated for a start at Ichi-gun Spring camp.
...The Eagles are planning on installing a new big-screen out in right-center. At 20.64 meters wide and 16.32 meters tall, it would become one of the largest big-screens in Japan (about 1.5 times larger than what's used at the Tokyo Dome). The new screen should be ready for the start of the season.
The big screen will set the Eagles back about 300M yen.
You can see an artist's rendition at the Eagles' official site.
...Kazumi Saito is currently working out in Arizona. He's trying to get his body ready so that he'll be good to practice with the rest of the team at Spring camp.
Saito is also working out with Sho Iwasaki and has been helping him with advice on pitching. Iwasaki is trying to win a spot in the starting rotation. He's been pushing his workouts and can now easily throw about 70 pitches in one bullpen session.
...The Hawks established a new committee that will work on improving the way the team currently assesses its own players.
...Munenori Kawasaki worked out with Ichiro for the second straight day on Wednesday. And the two were at it again, holding another "home run derby" at Skymark Stadium (Kawasaki lost to Ichiro again, 23-15 in about 100 swings of the bat).
Seems Ichiro feels Kawasaki has improved quite a bit since they worked out together last winter.
...The Hawks set a deadline for Nobuhiko Matsunaka: if he can prove he's ready to start playing by 3/10, the team will give him the green light for the start of the regular season.
Matsunaka will likely start Spring camp with C group (the group reserved for players recovering from injuries).
...Shinsuke Ogura held his first bullpen session on Wednesday and tossed about 80 pitches. He told reporters that he's working towards being fully ready by the middle of Spring camp.
There's a possibility he could be moved into the rotation this season.
Yokohama Bay Stars
...It seems 22 of the Bay Stars' 27 Japanese pitchers reported to the joint pitcher's mini camp that began on Wednesday.
...Daisuke Ochi told reporters, after returning from his 2-week training in Hawaii, that he wanted to record a third consecutive season of 60+ appearances.
...The five Giants that spent 12 days in Okinawa training, including Yoshinobu Takahashi and Yoshiyuki Kamei, returned to Tokyo on Wednesday. They will re-start their training beginning on the 22nd.
...Taishi Ohta is working on his fielding skills during the off-season and is using a training board (flat training glove) during fielding practice. This is the same Hayato Sakamoto did in 2008 to help him with his fielding.
Ohta will also be using a new glove, based on the Michihiro Ogasawara model, this season.
...Looks like it could be a match-up of Yuki Saito vs. Masahiro Tanaka during the Pro vs. College All-Stars game on July 26th.