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Softbank Hawks: Competition at third involving Ortiz, Lee, and Matsuda?

by on Feb.01, 2010 @ 6:31 pm, under NPB, Spring Camp

=== UPDATE 2/2/2010 12:25am JST

...Toshiya Sugiuchi, Tsuyoshi Wada, Takahiro Mahara, and Tadashi Settsu held bullpen sessions at the same time.  Sugiuchi later told reporters he couldn't help but throw harder when the other three were pounding the ball.

Sugiuchi tossed 51 pitches to a squatting catcher; Wada tossed 60 to a standing catcher.  Both pitchers are competing for an opening day start.

...Koji Akiyama was satisfied with the first day of Spring camp.  He told reporters that the team was able to do what it had to despite having to make changes to their training schedule due to the rain.

=== UPDATE 2/1/2010 6:31pm JST

...Because of the rain, the Hawks split their practice day into two sessions: Group A practiced during the morning and Group B in the afternoon.  All pitchers in Group A, other than the two foreigners, tossed bullpen sessions.

...Seems Koji Akiyama may give Jose Ortiz some time at third base during situational fielding practice.  Akiyama feels that outfielders can benefit from practicing at infield positions, although the same doesn't necessarily hold true for the  opposite.

Although a Nikkan Sports article says that Akiyama will have Ortiz competing for third with Bum-Ho Lee and Nobuhiro Matsuda.

...Akiyama had two things to say to his players during a team meeting on Sunday:

Whenever you play baseball, play with ambition

Always play with all spirit

...BH Lee hopes to meet Yomiuri Giants Seung-Yeop Lee for dinner a couple of times during Spring camp.  He's hoping to ask SY Lee for advice on how to succeed in the NPB.  The two will likely get together for their first dinner on the 5th.

...There's a good chance Kazumi Saito will miss out on the entire season.  On Tuesday, he'll be undergoing an operation on his right shoulder for the third time in his career.  He was not with the team on the first day of Spring camp.

Kenji Akashi, Sho Iwasaki, and Akira Nakamura were apparently the first three players on the team that Saito spoke to about his decision to have surgery.  The three players also accompanied Saito to Arizona for training during the off-season.

...Seems Hitoshi Tamura will be using a 960 gram bat this season, up from 930 grams last season.  His bat will be slightly shorter (34.5 inches to 34 inches) and the bat handle will be a little thinner.

...Toshiya Sugiuchi will likely be the opening day pitcher.  Prior to making the trip down to Miyazaki on Sunday, Sugiuchi played some catch at the Saitozaki indoor training facilities.  Five other players, including Reo Chikada and Tadashi Settsu, were there.

...Tadashi Settsu threw about 100 pitches into a net during practice on Sunday.

...About 1,000 fans welcomed the Hawks at Miyazaki airport on Sunday.

...Sadaharu Oh flew into Miyazaki on a different plan on Sunday.  He told reporters that his job is to keep the front office and the people that actually play the game, connected.  Oh also said that his job was to gather as much information about everything (his own team and rivals) in order to help his team win.