...Matt Murton hits his second home run during exhibition play on Thursday and Nikkan Sports is already translating that into 24 home runs over the course of a season. Yep, let's just keep piling on the pressure.
...Takashi Toritani extended his exhibition play hitting streak to four games on Thursday.
...Shunsuke Fujikawa showed off his arm during Thursday's game against the Yokohama Bay Stars. In the 6th, he threw out Takehiro Ishikawa trying to stretch a single into a double. And while his throw to home plate in the 8th wasn't in time to get a sliding runner out, he did probably turn a few heads and could make future players think twice before running on him.
...Tomoaki Kanemoto played out his first full game on Thursday. He went 0-for-4 in the game and is now 0-for-12 overall.
...Takahiro Arai is now 7-for-19 with 1 home run and 2 RBI during exhibition play.
...Yuya Ando and Atsushi Noumi will likely pitch in exhibition games against the Hiroshima Carp on the 20th and 21st, respectively. Tatsuya Kojima will likely start a Ni-gun game on the 20th against Softbank. On Thursday, the trio worked out at the indoor training facilities at Koshien. Ando threw 57 pitches in the bullpen with a figurine standing in the batter's box.
...Akinobu Mayumi decided on Thursday that both Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi and Casey Fossum will get starts at Ni-gun before the regular season (likely in a 3-game series against Orix that begins on the 3/23). Shimoyanagi, Fossum, Yasutomo Kubo, and Keiji Uezono are all vying for one of three remaining spots in the starting rotation.
...If Minoru Iwata doesn't hit any major bumps in the road during his rehab-training, he could begin shadow pitching as early as the 22nd.
...Naoto Tsuru was the opening day Ni-gun pitcher on Friday.
...Kenji Johjima on pitching:
If we don't get pitchers to throw pitches that have been hit in the past, we lose the initiative. So I need to make sure that pitchers don't try to avoid throwing certain pitches to certain batters. My thinking is to get the pitcher to throw the same pitch that was hit during a hitter's previous at bat, during their next at bat. After all, these are all guys we'll be seeing 20+ times over the course of the year.
This quote was in reference to what happened on Thursday with his approach to Shuichi Murata. Murata nailed a palm ball (or slow curve) off Kubo in the first inning. He made Kubo throw the same exact pitch during Murata's second at bat and that one was also hit pretty hard, albeit for a single.
...Katsuya Nomura apparently feels the Tigers will finish in third place in 2010. And he still doesn't like Johjima.