Hirokazu Ibata would like to play in every exhibition game on the 2011 schedule. On Monday, he spent about 3 hours practicing at Nagoya Stadium. Ibata also didn't accompany the team on their victory trip to Hawaii and instead held a 10-day mini-camp in Kumamoto (he even rented out a stadium at 3,000 yen a day that included lights for night practice).
"I think I might be the only player in the NPB to practice so much at this time of the year," said Ibata. "My body is ready for the season. I think I was practicing close to 8 hours a day."
The Chunichi Dragons didn't sign Joel Guzman as a replacement for Tony Blanco, but rather as an insurance policy (and as motivator) for when Blanco hits another rut (like he did this season). But if Guzman happens to take off, the Dragons are also ready to play him over Blanco. And if the two are playing well, they may leave both in the starting line-up.
Said head coach Shigekazu Mori, "We'll probably use whichever is hot. Blanco just needs to be himself. But if he [gets into a slump] like he did this year, it's possible he might not make the starting line-up. If both are doing well, it should be ok to use both at the same time. I'm sure the manager will figure out what to do during [spring] camp."
The Chunichi Dragons announced on Monday that 26-year-old Kei Nomoto married a 28-year-old woman named Kana Minekawa (? 峰川佳奈) filed marriage papers back on 12/1.