On Thursday, Shinji Komiyama was the first to start working out at Naruohama this year. After practice, he headed to Okinawa in order to work out with other players like Atsushi Nomi and Kentaro Sekimoto.
Yoji Hiraoka (a trainer) had this to say about Tomoaki Kanemoto recently (via Sanspo):
He's amazing. I was surprised [by what I saw]. On New Year's Day, I saw him practicing with other players and [at one point] he was showing them how to swing the bat. At that, it seemed like he was just barely able to swing the bat. But today, he was swing the bat with authority. It might be difficult for him to be ready to throw on 2/1, but he could be ready to take BP.
Are you at all concerned about one another?
T: Not really. Maybe I will once I put on the uniform and stand on the same field as he is.
You were lifting more during your squats than your older brother...
R: I didn't do many reps so I think it's about the same in the end. I wasn't trying to do more than him or anything.
T: It doesn't matter. We both have our strengths and weaknesses. It just means he has something else he can beat me in other than the size of our faces.
Will you two be training together until camp?
T: To be honest, he does nothing for me. He's good for playing catch with, maybe picking up baseball while I'm taking batting practice. A massage would be nice to.
R: I think it's good.
T: This kind of reminds me of my relationship with [Tomoaki] Kanemoto.
What are your thoughts on batting fourth this season?
T: I started batting fourth after Kanemoto got injured last year. I won't be playing the part of a replacement this season, so I want to do well. I want the team to feel confident about batting me there.
Your goals for the season?
T: As a team, I'd like to win a championship and spray beer all over the place. Myself, personally, I'd like to set some career highs. I want to excel in all areas.
Any numbers in particular?
T: There were a number of key moments last season and the fact that we ended one game out of first was frustrating. I want to be able to come through in the key moments.
Your reason for focusing on your lower body so far this off-season?
T: When you work on your upper body, you can see the results fairly quickly. This isn't the case with the lower body though. It isn't flashy, but it needs to be done.
What do you think of Kanemoto's current situation?
T: Like Kanemoto said yesterday, it hasn't all gotten better at once. But I think Kanemoto will do alright. He's gotten past similar tough patches in the past. I wonder if he's really alright. I'd like to think he is though.
What are you thoughts on your younger brother?
T: I think we're basically the same type of player. We just have differing amounts of experience. I'd like to see him grab what ever opportunities come his way. He's a solid [player], and I'm not saying that because he's my brother. He's got energy and a lot of potential. And he can use this time to pile on the experience.
Your brother said you were a good player.
R: I've never really heard him say stuff like that. The thing is, if I was a good player, I would have found a spot on the active roster by now. The reality is I haven't been able to do what it takes [to make the active roster]. So it's start from scratch, and I'm doing things now based on the assumption that I'm capable.
Your brother also mentioned that you might be taking your workouts very seriously.
R: I tend to do things with my emotions instead of actual skill, so I don't necessarily think that, but if my brother is saying that, then it's probably true. If you compare me to my brother, I'm still a far ways off.
Your plans for your training moving forward?
R: I still haven't found a place to live, but I'd like to be settled in before the 20th.
Will you try to find a place near Kanemoto or your brother?
R: Kanemoto lives in a place I can't afford. All I really need is a place to sleep.
At some point during the interview, Kanemoto dropped in and started messing around with Arai. Their interaction was covered by Sanspo:
Kanemoto: There are fewer [reporters] here today than yesterday. It's about 1/5 the amount when it was Kanemoto and Nakata. (About 50 reporters covered Sho Nakata the day before, compared to the 30 or so that showed up for the Arai brothers).
Arai: Are we done? You got a chance to see the three brothers together. (referring to himself, his younger brother, and Kanemoto)
Kanemoto: Stop it. It's the Arai sisters.
Kanemoto steps out of the room and returns with cameramen.
Kanemoto: Even if you're not [taking any pictures] stick around [for Arai]. Arai is a star. This is Mr. Pro Yakyu. So, you guys were saying?
Kanemoto finds out the Arai was talking about how he wanted the team to feel confident about having him bat fourth.
Kanemoto: You fools, I'm the clean-up hitter. But it's too bad Arai is the clean-up batter. It's regrettable.
Arai comments on Kanemoto's pronunciation of 遺憾, or ikan, which means regrettable.
Kanemoto: I know that. It's regrettable. I think Brazell [would be a good clean-up hitter]. My daughter thinks so too.
Arai: Are we done here? I still need to finish my training.
Kanemoto: You should just bat 8th. When I was batting 4th the number 8 hitter was... [Kodai] Sakurai. Sakurai hits more than you. You should just bat out of an easier spot.
Arai: This is getting long. I still have things I need to do.
Kanemoto: You normally don't work so hard, and now that the media is here, you work hard!?