About 60 members of the media showed up to catch Akinori Iwamura and Kazuo Matsui practice (running, playing catch, soft toss BP) on Wednesday. The two also showed up for practice earlier today as well.
Incidentally, it seems the two have picked up the nickname AKB, as is Akinori, Kazuo, Brothers. But it seems the other team members don't like the B standing for Brothers because there's already a better option for B: Bob, which is Takashi Kawai's nickname.
For those that don't know, AKB48 is a widely popular girl group in Japan.
Masahiro Tanaka returned to his home town (Itami, Hyogo) on Wednesday to visit his old elementary school (Koyanosato Elementary School) and for a talk event near the Hakyu Itami Station (about 100 fans showed up).
At the elementary school, kids asked Tanaka which batter he thought was tough to face. Tanaka replied Hayato Sakamoto (they were little league teammates) and added that Sakamoto was the one batter he didn't want to lose to. In head-to-head match-ups, Sakamoto is apparently 4-for-8. At a supporter's party afterward, the president of Konishi Brewing Company said that he wanted to see Tanaka win 20 games next season. Tanaka replied by saying it was possible so long as he didn't get hurt and didn't miss a turn in the rotation.
Hiroshi Katayama told reporters yesterday he grew a little (he's now 192.3cm tall) and also managed to take off about 9kg (he now weights 96kg) by cutting out carbonated drinks. Katayama is scheduled to work out with Tanaka during the off-season and hopes to secure a spot in the starting rotation and record double-digit wins next year.