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Seibu Lions: Kikuchi’s in a rough patch, could be demoted to Ni-gun

by on Feb.17, 2010 @ 5:03 pm, under NPB, Spring Camp

=== 11:21pm JST

...Notes from Wednesday's practice game against the Doosan Bears:

Four pitchers appeared in the game they walked / HBP'ed 9 batters combined. Ryoma Nogami gave up 5 runs over 3 innings while allowing the lead-off batter in all three innings to reach base.  Ryohei Fujiwara tossed 2 innings and didn't give up any hits.

Takuya Hara started at second and batted 2nd.  He collected three hits and 2 RBIs.

Taketoshi Goto batted fourth and went 2-for-4.

The Lions lost, 6-4.

...Yusei Kikuchi threw 88 pitches to a standing catcher during his first bullpen session since the 12th.  He told reporters after the session that he felt his delivery was finally beginning to click with the image he had in his head.

...1,950 fans showed up at Lions' camp on Wednesday.

=== 2/17/5:03pm JST

...Miyazaki prefectural mayor Hideo Higashikokubaru dropped by Lions camp on Wednesday.  He met with Hisanobu Watanabe on the secondary field and presented the team with a few food items like Miyazaki beef.  In return, Watanabe gave Higashikokubaru a Leo mascot stuffed animal that was signed by Yusei Kikuchi.

...Pitching coach Tetsuya Shiozaki told reporters that if Kikuchi doesn't pitch in any practice games by the 25th, he likely won't be pitching in any exhibition games this year.  After that, it'll likely mean a demotion to Ni-gun.

Training coach Koichi Ohsako added that Kikuchi's conditioning is that of a regular high school graduate.  On a scale of 1 to 100 (100 being pro-level conditioning): Hideaki Wakui was at about a 60 during his first year while Kikuchi is about 30-40.  Kikuchi has already decided to begin looking into various exercises (one of them will be tube-training to strengthen his shoulder) to help him with his conditioning.

It also seems Kikuchi is telling the coaches that he can pitch a simulated game, but the coaches don't appear to be convinced.

...Toshihiro Iwao and Yosuke Okamoto threw simulated games on Tuesday.  Iwao faced 12 batters and gave up 4 hits (including the home run to Hiroyuki Nakajima) and struck out 3.  Okamoto faced 11 batters and gave up 2 runs (including a home run to Toru Hosokawa).  Okamoto will likely pitch in a practice game against the Hiroshima Carp on 2/21.

...Kenta Matsusaka incorporated indoor free climbing into his off-season training.