While the Dragons are expected to return from their victory trip in Hawaii today, Masahiro Yamamoto will be staying back to begin his off-season training (mostly running along the beach).
Team president Junnosuke Nishikawa, Hiromitsu Ochiai, and chief player rep Masahiko Morino met on the 19th (before returning to Japan) and decided if the team finished in first again next year, their victory trip would once again be to Hawaii.
Hitoki Iwase told reporters during a Meikyukai golf competition in Hawaii on the 16th that he felt he needed to work extra hard next season because he was beginning to feel pressure from the younger arms like Takuya Asao and Akifumi Takahashi. And while recording his 300th save next season isn't a priority (he needs 24), Iwase also said that it's a number he should reach without any difficulties if he pitches well next season.
"300 saves isn't really a goal, but if I pitch well over the course of a season, it's a number I should reach," said Iwase. "But more than that, I feel if I don't do well next season, there might not be a place for me to pitch in. It's gotten to a point where things can come crumbling down at any time."
The Dragons will also be looking into back-up plans in case Iwase does hit a bump in the road next season.
Asao plans on getting serious about his training in January. He'll also be heading to Guam in mid-January.