Both Takumi Akiyama and Masashi Nohara will be working out with the Jojima Group in Sasebo, Nagasaki in January. And while Kenji Jojima won't be a part of the group this time around (so that he can focus on his rehab), it seems he will be working out at a nearby gym.
Tomoaki Kanemoto worked out at Naruohama on Friday. Kanemoto did not step foot outdoors and spent about 3 hours working out indoors.
Team owner Shinya Sakai's take on Takashi Toritani opting for a 1-year deal:
It's the FA option. He's going to earn it next season, so of course he's going to take the 1-year deal. ... Of we'd love for him to stay with Hanshin for a long time.
Naohisa Sugiyama (working his way back from right elbow surgery) started playing catch (about 10 minutes; distance of about 20 meters) at Naruohama on Friday. Sugiyama told reporters he was able to throw without any discomfort and that he expects to be able to play catch regularly before the end of the year. Sugiyama currently has his sights set on being ready to throw bullpens beginning on 2/1.
Kyuji Fujikawa took part in a Christmas Gathering at a medical center in Osaka on Friday. About 200 patients (including kids) took part in the event. Fujikawa is thinking about setting up a way for kids to send him letters with requests to say certain things during his hero interviews next season.
"Please send me letters via the Tigers," said Fujikawa. "If there's something you'd like me to say during the hero interview, just write it down and mail it to me. If it's something I can do, I'll do it!"
Fujikawa apparently loves children and is trying to do as much as he can to help make some of their dreams come true. Before a game against the Yokohama Bay Stars on 7/9, Fujikawa promised a kid he met through Make A Wish Foundation that he'd finish the game out by striking out the last batter of the game. Fujikawa apparently entered the game and did just as he promised.
Keiichi Hirano will be working out with Michihiro Ogasawara again this winter. The theme of those workouts: don't run away from doing things you don't like; and value the importance of the basics.
On Friday, Hirano spent his time visiting a children's ward in a hospital in Ibaraki with Kazuya Tsutsui.
And speaking of Tsutsui, he's planning on analyzing Yu Darvish footage for hints on how to improve his own game.
Said Tsutsui, "I've watching footage of Darvish pitching. He's really amazing -- his delivery doesn't change regardless of whether he's throwing a fastball or change-up."
With the Tiger adding players like Robert Zarate and Marcos Vechionacci (both from Venezuela; Vechionacci still hasn't been formally signed) to the roster, it seems they've finally decided it might be worthwhile if their interpreters also learned how to speak Spanish. As such, the team has apparently sent two of their interpreters to take about 80 hours worth of Spanish courses.
The Tigers also have had players like Esteban Yan (Dominican Republic; 2007), Aarom Baldiris (Venezuela; 2008-2009), and Alvis Ojeda (Venezuela; 2008) on their roster in recent years.
Nikkan Sports is hosting a Takashi Toritani Christmas Special Talk event on 12/15 as part of their 60th anniversary celebration (Osaka offices).