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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: December 31, 2010

by on Dec.31, 2010 @ 2:38 pm, under NPB

Kenji Jojima won't be swinging a bat in January (for the entire month), but will instead focus on strengthening his lower body.  Jojima has already placed an order of new bats for the 2011 (same type as this season) but won't be getting them until the start of spring camp (early February).  That was apparently done on purpose to avoid the temptation of swinging a bat.

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Ikkestu Sho has managed to drop his weight from 90kg (at the end of the season) to 85kg (current).  Sho returned to his homeland Taiwan for the first time since turning pro this winter and has been taking advantage of the warmer weather (around 20 degrees C).  He also plans to begin a throwing program in January and will return to Japan on 1/18.

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The Tigers may move Kazuya Tsutsui into the starting rotation next season.  The team apparently wants another lefty in the rotation.

Assuming no injuries, Yasutomo Kubo (RHP), Jason Standridge (RHP), Atsushi Nomi (LHP), and Minoru Iwata (LHP) will likely anchor the first four spots in the rotation.  The remaining two spots will be up for grabs and the Tigers are leaning towards letting Tsutsui compete for one of those spots.  Yuya Ando (RHP), Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (LHP), Takumi Akiyama (RHP), Naoto Tsuru (RHP), and Tatsuya Kojima (LHP) are all expected to compete with Tsutsui.

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The Tigers are considering giving the exhibition game opening day start on 2/26 (vs Orix) to Takumi Akiyama.

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Takahiro Arai closed out his training for the year on Thursday.  Arai appeared to be fully satisfied with the progress he has with his training so far this off-season.  He'll apparently take New Year's Eve off and start back up again on the 1st (with lower body exercises).

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Ni-gun pitching coach Keiichi Yabu is thinking about being a BP pitcher during spring camp next year.  If he does, he won't make it easy for the batters and will instead challenge them.  Yabu is even thinking about taking his turn in the bullpen to keep the youngsters on their toes.  Of course, he'll need to get permission from the team, and he'll only go as far as he can without disrupting his "real" job of coaching.

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And Jeff Williams told Daily Sports that he has no intention of retiring from baseball and plans on pitching in 2011.