Chiba Lotte Marines
...Tae-Gyun Kim ran for about 15-minutes (it was supposed to be a 20-minute run) on Friday before dropping to the floor, completely winded. Tadahito Iguchi was apparently a little surprised at how out of shape Kim was.
Kim admitted to reporters that he never had much stamina to begin with, even when he played in Korea.
...The Marines won't be able to use Ishigaki Baseball Stadium during Spring break because it will still be undergoing renovations. The team will instead be using the Tamokuteki Grounds again this year.
...Edward Valdez is looking forward to his first year in the NPB and wants to win at least 10 games this year. He will likely compete with Maximo Nelson for a spot on the roster.
...The Dragons are thinking about having their players sing the team song during their hero interviews at the end of games.
...Ryo Watanabe tossed an 18-pitch bullpen session on Friday. And mixed in with those 18 pitches were two change-ups with big breaks that almost appeared to knuckle.
...Kenji Johjima finished off his first round of training at Sasebo on Friday. He'll now shift gears and start on his second round of training. Johjima will likely continue his training in and around Sasebo until the very last minute.
...The Tigers decided to use Johjima's personal logo on their Johjima merchandise. The logo was originally placed on a special order mug that was produced to celebrate Johjima's 1,000th game played back on 9/21/2004. He's been using the logo ever since.
...Kai-Wen Cheng has been working on his weight and stamina during the off-season. To that end, he has changed his diet and focused his training around lots of running. So far, he has managed to put 4kg on his 78kg frame.
...Kyuji Fujikawa will not be making any changes to the way his name appears in the player registry. There were some rumblings that he might make a change to his name after Shunsuke Fujikawa joined the team.
...Tomoaki Kanemoto got a 100M yen pay cut yesterday. But he's still the top paid position player in the NPB with a salary of 450M yen.
Early reporters mistakenly claimed that Kenji Johjima was the top paid player, but Johjima's salary will begin at 400M yen this year, and gradually increase over the life of his 4-year deal.
And while his base salary has decreased, it appears he can stand to make a lot more if he maxes out all his performance clauses.
...The Tigers may have signed Kanemoto and Kyuji Fujikawa on Friday, but they still have three more players to take care: Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Yasutomo Kubo, and Takashi Toritani.
A Toritani signing could be announced sometime early next week. The other two will likely be signed during Spring camp.
...The new Koi-zashiki (鯉桟敷) section was unveiled at Mazda Stadium on Friday. There will be three of these sections on the third base side of the stadium. Each section will cost 36,000 yen and can seat up to 8 people.
Two other seating areas were also revealed on Friday: the Family Terrace (top two images), the Party Deck Outfield (bottom two images). The two images in the middle are of the Koi-zashiki sections.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...Bum-Ho Lee introduced himself to Yu Darvish on Friday. The two are currently working out at the same training facilities in Miyazaki.
...Atsunori Inaba left to continue his training in Nago, Okinawa on Friday.
...Akinobu Okada wants his pitchers to throw a lot during Spring camp. He feels the more they throw in camp, the more they'll be able to throw during the season. He once again referred to Hanshin Tiger Tomoyuki Kubota throwing 3000 pitches during camp.
...Motohiro Shima has been working on his throwing during the off-season. He's currently looking over some notes he took while he trained with Chunichi Dragon Motonobu Tanishige in Okinawa earlier this month.
...Hiroki Yamamura is working his way back from a right shoulder injury and tossed a 25-pitch bullpen session on Friday. He told reporters that he was given the green light to attend Spring camp by his doctor in Chiba.
...Marty Brown told reporters on Friday that he doesn't plan on holding many team meetings this season (unless necessary). Instead, players will likely meet in much smaller groups.
...Tatsuyuki Uemoto used cleats that are only available in the US during training and found that they were light and stylish. The only problem: they didn't really fit his feet very well.
...Tsuyoshi Wada returned from Hawaii on Friday. Wada managed to hold 7 bullpen sessions in Hawaii and maxed out at about 70 pitches for one day.
He also managed to gain some weight with his 6,000 kcal / day food menus.
...Koji Akiyama wants each of his coaches to set goals for the year -- like team ERA for the pitching coaches, team batting for the batting coaches, and the number of errors for the fielding coaches.
...Keisuke Katto held his second straight bullpen session in as many days on Friday and threw 48 pitches.
Shinsuke Ogura also held a bullpen session and tossed about 90 pitches.
...About 200 fans showed up for a Takahiro Mahara fan event on Saturday.
...Looks like the Softbank Hawks are planning on installing two new big screens at Yahoo Dome. Each new screen will be 5.7 meters high and 33 meters wide; they will be placed in left and right field.
The new screens will not only be used to display advertisements, but will also be used in conjunction with the main screen in center to create one extra large screen.
Construction will take place this month and will cost about 500-600M yen. The club is also thinking about whether it should enroll in an insurance plan in case someone manages to hit a home run off one of the new screens.
...Norichika Aoki wants to improve his defense in the outfield and plans on asking Takada Shigeru to help him with extra fielding practice during Spring camp. Shigeru was a solid outfielder in his prime and was labeled the Wall Magician for being able to read the balls bouncing off the outfield walls.
...Ryoji Aikawa returned from training in Saipan on the 21st. He was back working out again on Friday, spending about an hour in the batting cages. Aikawa will be using the same type of bat as Shinya Miyamoto this season -- he's going from a 34 inch, 920 gram bat to a 33.5 inch, 910 gram bat.
...The Swallows may invite Tatsuro Hirooka to be a special temporary instructor during Spring camp. Hirooka has been helping out a number of players during the off-season so far.
Yokohama Bay Stars
...Takao Obana visited various media outlets in Yokohama on Friday. During his rounds, he asked reporters to double their output on Bay Stars' news this year because the players will also be doubling their skills. Obana also said that the coach's job is to help the players while the manager's job is to become an information source for the media.
...While there are plans to put Yoshinobu Takahashi on a separate training menu during Spring camp, Takahashi doesn't plan on taking the easy way out and will do his best keep pace with the rest of the team, which includes taking about 1,000 swings a day.
...Alex Ramirez will be using a different bat this season. According to bat maker Zett, Ramirez's new bat is thinner along the barrel and slightly thicker in the handle.
...Sponichi mentions that the Giants will be working on four main areas during Spring camp:
solidifying the starting rotation behind Dicky Gonzalez and Seth Greisinger (candidates include Tetsuya Utsumi, Shun Tono, Yamaguchi, Shugo Fujii, Yuya Kubo and Shota Kimura);
figuring out who will take over Yamaguchi's spot in the bullpen (candidates include Masahide Kobayashi, Yasunari Takagi, and Norihito Kaneto);
figuring out who will play left and center (candidates include Tetsuya Matsumoto, Yoshiyuki Kamei, Yoshitomo Tani, Takahiro Suzuki, Yoshinobu Takahashi, and Hisayoshi Chono);
and figuring out who will play second base (candidates include Edgar Gonzalez, Ryota Wakiya, and Shigeyuki Furuki).
...The Giants announced on Friday that they will give out "reverse" chocolates to women in attendance on February 14th.
Fun Fact: Valentine's Day in Japan is usually about women giving men chocolate. Men then later return to favor on White Day (takes place in March). But over the last couple of years, it has become somewhat fashionable for men to give out chocolate to women on Valentine's Day, creating a "reversal" of roles.