UPDATE @ 8:33pm
Kobayashi told reporters today that he felt refreshed now that he knows where he'll be playing this season.
UPDATE @ 4:17pm
A Hanshin Tigers rep told reporters yesterday that they expected Hiroyuki Kobayashi to first move out to Kansai without his family and then only later have them join him when things settle down. That means Kobayashi will probably live out of a hotel for the time being.
The Tigers not only have high expectations of Kobayashi on the field, but also in terms of helping them sell more tickets and merchandise. In other words, the team itself will take advantage of Kobayashi's skill on the field while the marketing department will take advantage of Kobayashi's looks off the field. Depending on how things work out, the Tigers may also turn to Kobayashi to help them model their fashion label, YELXBLK.
The Tigers, currently working on the protected player list they'll be sending the Chiba Lotte Marines, apparently still have fewer than 25 names on it (they can protect up to 28). They're trying to figure a few things out, like whether or not it'll be safe to leave high salary players off the list. And the Tigers are also taking into consideration the fact that the Marines are most likely looking for a pitcher or infielder. The Tigers do have quite a bit of talent, so they it's possible they could lose a good player if the Marines opt for money + player compensation.
I'm sure we're going to give him the 8th inning, but if we have problems with the starting rotation again, he could fit in there as well.
Keiji Uezono is the current owner of the number 41 on the Hanshin Tigers. Uezono's comments on the number:
It isn't my place to say anything. When I joined the club, I picked the number because it was a number worn by players like Hiroyuki Kobayashi and [Atsunori] Inaba (HAM). I think it would be strange for me to continue wearing the number when Kobayashi is joining the team.
Former Rakuten Eagle Akihito Fujii's comment on the addition of Kobayashi:
He's a good pitcher. He attacks the strike zone. He's got a fork and a slider that batters need to wait on, making them difficult to hit. He's the type of pitcher I hate to type.