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Pacific League News and Notes: January 19, 2011

by on Jan.19, 2011 @ 6:15 pm, under NPB

This post will be updated throughout the day.

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Chiba Lotte Marines

Yoshihisa Naruse worked out at Urawa Stadium yesterday told reporters he wanted to win at least 17 games this year (the same as his uniform number).  He also said he wanted to hold batters to under 20 homers (he surrendered a career high 29 last year).

Orix Buffaloes

Hiroshi Kisanuki worked out at Skymark Stadium today (played some catch and did some long-distance throwing) and told reporters he'd like to win at least as many games as the uniform number on his back (12).  Kisanuki had been working out in San Diego (even pitched in the bullpen) since December and returned to Japan on the 17th.

Takahiro Okada had a chance to speak to Ichiro for about 5 minutes today.  The two will begin working out together shortly.  Ichiro told reporters he was surprised to see Okada so soon.

Ichiro told reporters yesterday that he'd like to see Tomochika Tsuboi wear the number 51.  Said Ichiro, "I'd like him to wear the number 51.  At that age, and I'm not one to speak since we're the same age, he still really loves baseball.  That doesn't happen a lot, and the fact that it doesn't change much, year to year, that's what's great [about him]."  The two also had a little chuckle when Ichiro asked Tsuboi about the number 51 and Tsuboi said he asked but was turned down (no one has worn the number since Ichiro left after the 2000 season).

Rakuten Eagles

Hisashi Iwakuma tossed 100 pitches (using the new NPB baseball) in a bullpen session at Kleenex Stadium yesterday (half bent catcher and Tatsuya Shiokawa standing in the right-handed batter's box).  He threw his fork, slider, cutter, and change.  He told reporters after the session that he only threw his off-speed pitches for fun and found that they had good movement.  Iwakuma also said that the ball felt similar to the one used during the WBC and that it felt a little slippery and a little heavy.  He added that the slippage problem might go away as the humidity rises in Japan. ... Iwakuma will be donating 100,000 yen to various charities for every victory he records this year.

Seibu Lions

Yusei Kikuchi worked out at Seibu 2 Stadium today (stretching, weight training).  On Tuesday, Kikuchi tossed 55 pitches in the bullpen.

The rosters for spring camp were released earlier today.

Softbank Hawks

Tadashi Settsu plans on throwing his sinker a lot this season.  Said Settsu, "I'm so happy we got an amazing catcher.  Now I'll be able to throw the sinker as much as I like.  I think he'll be able to keep all of them in front of him.  I'd also like to keep communication on a equal footing."  Settsu will also be using a slightly smaller (by 5mm) and lighter (by about 10-20 grams) glove this year.

Takahiro Mahara would like to keep pounding the fastball at 150km/h.  And for the second straight season, he's taking advantage of Waseda University Gradate School of Sport Sciences' high speed video camera to capture his delivery.  The high speed camera records footage at 1,0000 frames per second and will allow Mahara to keep a close eye on his mechanics.

Yasushi Kamiuchi is working on picking up a slider.  He has also dropped about 6kg (from 90kg to 84kg).

Hideaki Takahashi tossed about 30 pitches in the bullpen yesterday (standing catcher).

Toru Hosokawa worked out at Seibu 2 Stadium today (long distance throwing, BP).  The Lions also happened to be holding their staff meetings today and the coaches jokingly questioned Hosokawa if he was there to steal information.

Rehab coach Kazumi Saito may be allowed to stay behind in Fukuoka during spring camp in order to continue his rehab.  A final decision will be made during a staff meeting on the 26th.