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Seibu Lions: Kikuchi mania begins

by on Feb.01, 2010 @ 12:52 pm, under NPB, Spring Camp

=== UPDATE 2/2/2010 12:04am JST

...About 150 members of the press and around 400 fans showed up at the Lions' Spring camp on Monday.

...Sanspo is carrying an interview with Kikuchi after his first day of Spring camp.  I selected a number of quotes I thought were interesting:

On your 86 pitches...

I felt balanced on the mound.  It was also nice having a pro ump calling balls and strikes for me.

How was the strike zone?

Larger than I thought.  It seemed a lot smaller on the TV screen.  I especially felt that the top and bottom of the zone were pretty large.  I didn't have my best control today, but I'm not worried.

When you start throwing hard, your arm slot drops down to about three-quarters...

I threw hard for the last 20-30 pitches and I think that's the best slot for my arm.

What will your throwing schedule be like...

I'll throw again tomorrow.  It'll probably work out to once every two days.

=== UPDATE 6:43pm JST

...Kimiyasu Kudo didn't hold a bullpen session on Monday, and instead did some other things, like take some grounders.  He told reporters he felt like a rookie all over again because it was the first time working out at Nango.

...Hisanobu Watanabe was impressed by Yusei Kikuchi's bullpen session.

=== UPDATE 4:59pm JST

...Another female reporter covering Yusei Kikuchi's first day at Spring camp:  Ayaka Chiyo for FM NACK5.

And Radio Bunka Housou's two female reporters, Ai Handa and Kaori Arima, will be called the Kikuchi Girls.  The radio station apparently put out a call for listeners to submit their ideas on what to name the two and received about 500 submissions.  Kikuchi Girls was apparently the best of the lot.

=== UPDATE 3:54pm JST

...Kazuhisa Ishii held a bullpen session on Monday and threw 71 pitches to a standing catcher.  He also threw a number of pitches without a windup.

...Yusei Kikuchi tossed an 86-pitch bullpen session on Monday.  He also managed to throw 4 sliders.

Sponichi adds that it was 72 pitches with the catcher standing and and 86 with the catcher squatting.  That's a total of 158 pitches.

...Mai Enoki from Miyazaki TV is another female reporter covering Kikuchi.

=== UPDATE 1/1/2010 12:52pm JST

...There was rain on the first day of Spring camp.  That forced the entire team into indoor training.

The players started Spring camp at 9am.  There was an opening ceremony at the indoor training facilities.  At the end, the Nango Fisherman's Union presented the four rookies with a 100kg northern bluefin tuna.

...Yusei Kikuchi, Yasuyuki Kataoka, and Hiroyuki Nakajima had a chance to cut open a northern bluefin tuna prior to dinner at the Lions' team hotel on Sunday.  When it was mentioned that the northern bluefin tuna they were cutting into weighed 50kg, Kataoka shouted out that Kikuchi could throw 150km/h, to which Kikuchi shyly nodded.  Nakajima then slowly turned to Kikuchi and whispered fairly loudly, "But don't you throw 155km/h?", eliciting laughter from his teammates.

...Kikuchi arrived in Miyazaki wearing a name brand clothing -- suit (New Yorker), shirt (Paul Smith ~20,000 yen), tie (Louis Vuitton ~20,000 yen), leather shoes (Regal - ~20,000 yen), carrying bag (Takashimaya - ~50,000 yen).  He also got a 4,000 yen haircut before leaving for Spring cam.  All told, he spent about 114,000 yen.

Seems the suit was also his first.  He also had to ask teammate Kenta Matsushita, for some help with the tie.  But even then it was still crooked and Nakajima and Hideaki Wakui were seen straightening it for him.

...Kikuchi apparently got on the wrong bus in the morning.

...Hisanobu Watanabe told reporters that he was excited about having Kikuchi on the team and hopes that Kikuchi will be able to stay healthy throughout his first Spring camp.  When asked what his goal was for Spring camp as a whole, he said that he wanted to push better defense for the pitchers.

...There's a "Day in training with Kimiyasu Kudo" at Nikkan Sports.

...The Lions held a press confere

...Female reporters Kaori Arima (Radio Bunka Housou) and Akane Yagyu (Iwate TV) covering Kikuchi also checked into the first day of Lions' Spring camp.