Chiba Lotte Marines
...The Marines are thinking about giving Tae-Gyun Kim a reward if he ends up winning the MVP award for the month of April.
If Kim wins an MVP for April, the Marines may invite a Korean actress to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at one of the games this season. On the list are Tae-Hee Kim, So-Yeon Kim, and Ji-Woo Choi.
...Wei-Ying Chen and Kazuki Yoshimi held bullpen sessions on Thursday; Chen tossed 31 pitches and Yoshimi threw 20. It was the first time Chen threw in about 2 month.
Yoshimi has also been working on a new delivery, but he won't unveil that until Spring camp.
...Tony Blanco, Dionys Cesar, and Edward Valdez arrived in Japan on Thursday.
While Cesar is a catcher, he apparently has experience playing pretty much every other position on the field. He's also quick on his feet, running the 60-yard dash in 6.2 seconds. His goals for the season: bat .300, hit 30 homers, and drive in 100 RBIs. He also wants to steal a lot of bases.
...Matt Murton and Craig Brazell arrived in Japan on Thursday.
Brazell's goal for the season: bat .300, hit 30 homers, and drive in 100 RBIs.
Murton greeted the media in Japanese during his press conference on Thursday.
Nihon-no minasama, hajimemashite. Murton-desu. Ima, kokonikorarete, honnmani ureshiidesu.
People of Japan, hello. I am Murton. I'm extremely happy to be here today.
...Shigenobu Shima ordered some special insoles from sukoburu that supposedly provide better ankle and Achilles tendon support.
...Jeff Fiorentino apparently likes ping-pong and even has a ping-pong table back at his home in Florida.
...Carlo Alvarado's wife is a former model and currently runs two schools for models in Puerto Rico. About 200 students between the ages of 2 and 15 are enrolled at her two schools.
...The Carp will be changing the order of balls and strikes on the scoreboard from SBO to BSO. Work should be completed in time for the start of the season.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...Atsunori Inaba is thinking about hold a mini-competition with Sho Nakata to see who can hit the ball further during soft-toss BP.
It seems Inaba will also be taking a back-seat during practice games against domestic teams because he'll get too fired up from facing some of the young and upcoming talent. Instead, he'll likely start the practice games against the Korean baseball teams.
...Hichori Morimoto has his sights set on batting .300 and stealing 30 bases. But he may have to do some work in order to win out the right to play a full season.
...Yu Darvish arrived in Okinawa on the 28th. Last year on the 28th, Darvish threw a 65-pitch bullpen session.
Darvish will also be appearing in Nike print ads with Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers) and Wayne Rooney (Man U) beginning in early February. The image used in the print ad will be of Darvish in the locker room mentally preparing himself before the start of a game.
...Tsuyoshi Kawagishi closed out his high-altitude training at Sendai University. He worked out in a special room that re-created conditions when training at 2,500 meters above sea level (in other words, oxygen concentration is about 25%). Kawagishi got to the point where he could ride a bike for 40 minutes.
...Juan Morillo would like to try breaking Yomiuri Giant Marc Kroon's record of 162km/h.
...About 800 baseball dignitaries attended Katsuya Nomura's party on Thursday. Even though the party was in part to celebrate Nomura's appointment to honorary manager, the team has yet to give Nomura an official contract to sign -- they are still working on writing it up.
He also told the crowd that he'd go anywhere if he got an offer to manage. His wife also seemed to think that Nomura wasn't done just yet.
Incidentally, for those wondering, he still can't understand why the Eagles didn't sign him to an extension.
...The press found out on Thursday that Takayuki Kishi had filed marriage papers an unidentified woman on the 23rd.
The two had been dating since September of 2008 and living together for about a year. They will likely hold a marriage ceremony sometime in December.
...Ryoji Aikawa feels Yoshinori Sato and Kyohei Muranaka are keys to the Swallows' success this year. To that end, he plans to push the two in their training and make sure they're all on the same page.
...Aaron Guiel told reporters again that he wants to end his career in a Swallows' uniform. He's even thinking about coaching / managing as possibilities.
Yokohama Bay Stars
...After working on running the bases, Seiichi Uchikawa took about 35 swings during batting practice on Thursday.
...Shinnosuke Abe liked what he saw of Takanobu Tsujiuchi after he caught Tsujiuchi's 30-pitch bullpen session.
...Chih-Lung Huang appears to consider Masahiro Tanaka a rival. They are both about the same age and Huang apparently had a lot of opportunities to watch Tanaka pitch on TV. He told reporters that he didn't want to be beaten by Tanaka.
...Shun Tono held a bullpen session on Thursday and threw 26 pitches. He also showed off his new no-wind-up delivery, something he decided on trying after former pitching coach Takao Obana said he might be tipping pitches. Tono threw at about 80% capacity.