This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.
About 2,300 fans showed up at Kamagaya yesterday (the second highest total since the first day of rookie training camp. Training lasted about 5 hours and included running, playing catching, fielding grounders, and weight training.
The Fighters are playing 8 games at Tokyo Dome during the regular season this year. And the media learned yesterday that all 92 Dynamic Seat tickets (100,000 yen) and all 164 Excite Seat tickets on the first base side have sold out (70,000 yen).
Masataka Nashida has also mentioned that Saito could start the second or third game at Tokyo Dome. Sanspo figures it'll be the game on 3/30 (vs Ortix).
Saito's "pro" debut might take place during an intra-squad game on the 2/19 (at Kunigami Stadium).
Team GM Masao Yamada told reporters yesterday that the team will likely give Saito a debut start in an intra-squad game where the pressure won't be so intense. Said Yamada, "It all depends on how he's doing, but I think it might be best if he faced his own teammates first. Nashida is also saying it might be best for him to take his time." Asked if there was a chance it might be an earlier intra-squad game (2/7 or 2/8) and Yamada replied, "not likely."
Another reason: Intra-squad games should give Saito more time to prepare since game start times aren't necessarily set in stone. The rules are also a lot more lenient.
Nikkan Sports adds that the Fighters will probably have Saito sitting in the dugout for all home games during spring camp (about 9 games).
Saito was happy to hear that Tatsuya Oishi (SEI, 1st round) tossed a bullpen session yesterday and said that news reports about his former teammates, Oishi and Yuya Fukui (HIR, 1st round), always provided him with motivation.
Kamagaya Stadium put up a new ad in the outfield yesterday (for Shin Kamagaya Eki-mae Clinic). They also put up two ads (Nihonbashi Gakkan University and Kyoei University) on the 5th. The stadium has apparently been fielding a much larger number of calls regarding their outfield advertising space this year. Makes sense since the stadium is showing up in the news every day.
Katsuya Nomura was at a book signing in Yaesu, Tokyo yesterday and made the following comments about Saito:
It's still the off-season and he's drawing a lot of attention. I don't remember it being like this even for players like [Hideki] Matsui and [Daisuke] Matsuzaka.
Yu-chan, a Fighters' child, everyone's child.
He hasn't even put on a uniform so it still isn't time for me to say anything [about his baseball abilities].
If I were his catcher, he'd win 10 games. He's got a lot of skill technique, so this is a perfect situation for a catcher to show his abilities (how well he can lead his pitcher). A lot will depend on Nashida and [Shinya] Tsuruoka.
Saito tossed 40 pitches (at about 70%) in his bullpen session today (half-bent catcher). He also mixed in some off-speed pitches. When asked why he didn't have the catcher squat, he said that it was an option he considered, but decided to take things slow instead.
Saito is planning on tossing two more bullpens before the end of rookie training camp on the 30th.
The media found out on Thursday that the Fighters are keeping Saito from signing autographs out of fear that he (or a fan) might get hurt. The Fighters also considered holding an autograph session for select fans, but decided against it when they thought about how fans might fight over the lottery tickets.