This post will be updated throughout the day.
Nippon Ham Fighters
Makoto Kaneko took fielding practice at Kamagaya wearing jika-tabi on Saturday. Seems Yoshinori Tateyama suggested he give it a try in order to help strengthen his calves. Kaneko purchased two colors, balck and blue, and will also be using them with him to Okinawa today.
While most foreign players aren't set to arrive in Japan until the 30th, it seems Wirfin Obispo will be getting in a little early (actually arriving tomorrow) because there's some concern about his conditioning.
Kazumasa Kikuchi, Toshiyuki Yanuki, and Masaru Nakamura returned to Japan on the 21st after spending the last 10 or so days working out in Thailand.
The Buffaloes held a farewell ceremony for Neppie and Ripsea today in Kobe. Neppie made his debut in 1991 as the son of Neptune. Ripsea appeared in 1998 and was apparently a pirate's daughter that was saved by Neppie. About 800 fans attended the ceremony.
Akinori Iwamura met with Munenobu Date (13th generation of the Date family from the Uwajima Domain) today.
Masafumi Togano threw about 40 pitches in the bullpen today at Kleenex Stadium (standing catcher). Togano already tossed a bullpen session to a squatting catcher during his training in Ibaraki.
Hiromichi Fujiwara tossed his first bullpen session of the year on Saturday -- 33 pitches to a standing catcher.
Yusei Kikuchi threw 33 pitches in the bullpen today (standing catcher) and told reporters he was feeling better everyday. He also said that he wanted to toss 2-3 more bullpens before the start of spring (with at lease one with the catcher squatting).
Ni-gun equipment manager Kojiro Uehara tossed a bullpen session today (the rookies had the day off today and the facilities were apparently fairly empty). Uehara will also be used as a BP pitcher during spring camp.
Fumiya Nishiguchi would like to pitch in an exhibition game on 2/26 against the Yakult Swallows. Nishiguchi tossed a bullpen session on Saturday and is apparently feeling great. During his training in Okinawa, he pushed himself hard on weight training (more than ever before) and started playing catch at a much earlier stage than usual.
Hiroshi Hirao returned from his 2-week training in Saipan on the 22nd with his head shaved clean. He told reporters that his workouts in Saipan went well and that he shaved his head the first night he was there.
Shinsuke Ogura figures he can win at least 10 games if he doesn't get hurt this year. Between 1/5 and 1/20, he spent a lot of time working on his lower body and polishing the cutter he's been working on since fall camp. He also purposely dropped his weight to 82kg (down from 85kg) so that all the running he did would put less strain on his frame; he'll slowly work back up to 85kg for the regular season.
Hiroki Kokubo is currently working out in Gilbert, Arizona and plans on returning to Japan on the 27th. When asked about what kind of homer he'd like 400 to, he said he wanted it to be a deciding blow, like one that gives the team a lead or a walk-off shot. For his training in the US, Kokubo only brought his first baseman's mitt, since that's the position he plans on winning the starting job for. He has also managed to add 4kg to his frame (from 88kg to 92kg).
Reo Chikada worked out at the Saitozaki training facilities on Saturday. Chikada had some surgery to remove 17 warts from his legs and restarted his training yesterday. Seems Chikada has also been studying footage of various pitchers, like Kimiyasu Kudo, Toshiya Sugiuchi, and Tsuyoshi Wada, via YouTube. Of particular interest seems to be Kudo's curve. Chikada's legs still aren't fully healed and it isn't known yet if he'll be 100% of spring camp yet.