Minoru Iwata's solid performance (5 IP, 59 NP, 19 BF, 4 H, 2 SO, 0 R) during his second simulated game on Sunday apparently has the Tigers a bit relieved and hopeful that he'll be fully ready to compete for a spot in the 2011 starting rotation.
Said Iwata regarding his outing, "Compared to my first [simulated game], I felt much better. I'm making good progress. I'm not 100% back, but there's no doubt that I'm getting closer."
Incidentally, after throwing 59 pitches during the simulated game, Iwata held a bullpen session to push his pitch count over 100 for the day.
During Sunday's simulated game, Issei Morita went 3-for-6 with 2 RBI, including two doubles, one off Iwata and another off Daiki Kiyohara. The Tigers have been pushing Morita to concentrate on using his lower body more when swinging the bat during fall camp.
Masashi Nohara picked up 4 hits.
If Kosuke Kato makes the team, the Tigers might end up using him as a lefty specialist out of the pen.
The Tigers apparently decided to extend their practice sessions at the Naruohama training grounds until 11/30. Said Ni-gun manager Haruki Yoshitake, "The players on the farm need to catch up with the Ichi-gun players so this is an obvious decision. Hitting, fielding, I'd like the players to use this time to figure out how they want to move forward."