=== 11:38pm JST
...Tatsunori Hara liked what he saw during Shun Tono's start on Friday against the Orix Buffaloes. Tono got off to a shaky start, walking home a run in the first inning, but settled in nicely. His final line: 5 IP, 22 BF, 89 NP, 5 H, 6 SO, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 R, 1 ER. Between the 2nd and 5th innings, Tono scattered 3 hits and struck out 4.
While Hara would not commit to giving Tono a spot in the starting rotation, he did say that he was a pitcher the team needed.
...Marc Kroon faced 4 batters and threw 20 pitches during a simulated game on Friday. He topped out at 147km/h and allowed 1 hit.
...The Giants announced the start of a new ticketing program for women called Girls Giants Seat. Tickets under this program will be available for the following 13 home games:
4/23 vs Hiroshima, 5/12 vs Seibu, 5/13 vs Seibu, 5/24 vs Orix, 5/26 vs Softbank, 5/27 Softbank, 6/7 vs Rakuten, 6/18 vs Chunichi, 6/25 vs Yokohama, 7/21 vs Yakult, 7/28 vs Chunichi, 8/25 vs Chunichi, 9/22 vs Yokohama
A total 150 seats along the third base site will be available per game. The tickets will cost 3,700 yen and will include a pink seat cover and a place to store bags. For games in April and May, women who purchase Girls Giants Seat tickets will be able to borrow mini blankets to fend off the cold. The seats will also come with an explanation of baseball rules and various other information that might be useful for first time female fans. There will also be additional gifts like chocolates and other types of sweets.
=== 11:57am JST
...Tetsuya Matsumoto struggles against left-handed pitching. In exhibition games this year, he is batting 4-for-14 against right-handed pitchers and 0-for-5 against left-handed pitchers. It was the same deal last season when he finished with a .299 batting average against right-handed pitchers and a .277 batting average against left-handed pitchers.
The one exhibition game Matsumoto missed this year was against the Softbank Hawks with Toshiya Sugiuchi on the mound. It was the same game that Tatsunori Hara test Hisayoshi Chono in the number 2 hole in the line-up.
On Thursday, Matsumoto went 0-for-3 in a simulated game.
...Beginning on the 16th, when the Giants' current road trip end, catchers and pitchers will hold meetings on a daily basis to go over strategies on how to pitch against other Central League teams (one team per day). Their advanced scouts will also be at the meetings, providing information they have managed to gather over the last few weeks.
...The Giants are testing a new batting practice machine that "floats" a ball in the strike zone (tee-batting without the tee) at the Kawasaki indoor training facilities on Thursday.
...The two opening day starter hopefuls will be pitching during the weekend: Dicky Gonzalez on the 13th against the Orix Buffaloes and Tetsuya Utsumi against the Hanshin Tigers on the 14th. On Thursday, Utsumi tossed 54 pitches in the bullpen in preparation for his start on Sunday. These two starts will likely go a long way towards determining who will be the 2010 opening day starter.
...Marc Kroon will likely pitch in his first simulated game on Friday. Kroon originally told reporters after his BP session on Wednesday that he wasn't sure if he'd be able to pitch in a simulated game until he found out how his elbow felt on Thursday. With no reported problems, it appears he got the green light. Kroon is expected to throw about 30-40 pitches. If he's feeling fine after the outing, he'll likely rejoin the Ichi-gun team on the 16th.
...The Giants made some history when they borrowed the Naruohama training facilities on Thursday. It had been the first time the club had ever worked out at Naruohama since the facilities opened in 1994. The stadium where the Giants worked out for about 3 hours (they held a simulated game) was shut off from the public.
I'm guessing die-hard Tigers' fans weren't exactly pleased.
...The Giants announced that Seth Greisinger had his elbow cleaned out at a hospital in Los Angeles on the 11th (US time 10th). Greisinger will require about three weeks of rest before he can start playing catch. His current ETA places his return sometime in or after May.