This post will be updated throughout the day.
Minoru Iwata will be heading to Ginoza, Okinawa tomorrow and could toss a bullpen session as early as the 27th. He also told reporters that he managed to pick up a new type of breaking pitch. According to Hiroyuki Kawahara (SOF): "The movement isn't regular. Sometimes it looks like a shuto with late life, other times it just drops. The ball feels really heavy too. I've never seen another pitch like it. And it has a spin that makes it look like a fastball. If I'm having a hard time keeping track of it during a game of catch, the batters are in trouble." Regarding his overall condition, Iwata said that he was feeling great and managed to add some more muscle without really increasing his weight.
Takahiro Arai has been able to work out to his heart's content this winter because he's been healthy. He was a free agent in 2007, was busy with the Beijing Olympics in 2008, had to take things slow in 2009 because of a stress fracture in his lower back, and similarly had lower back problems in 2010.
Shinjiro Hiyama started working out at Koshien again yesterday (he closed out his training in Guam on the 21st). Hiyama plans on heading to Okinawa sometime on the 30th or 31st. Until then, he'll continue his training at Koshien.
Hiroyuki Kobayashi could make his debut during a practice game against the Yakult Swallows on 2/13. Kobayashi also returned to Tokyo on Monday after closing out his training in Ishigakijima on the 23rd.
Jojima will be allowed to run (jogging) beginning on the first day of spring camp (2/1). Nike will also provide Jojima with a shoe insert that's good at absorbing shock (a staff member from Nike will be at spring camp to collect information specifically on Jojima).
Kosuke Kato is looking forward to pitching alongside his former teammate, Kobayashi.
A Brazell Net will be installed at Ginoza Stadium. The netting will run along the first base side of the stadium (between three bank of lights and will only be open when needed (like during BP and games). (A net was also added in the same area last year, but apparently not quite as sturdy as the one going up this year.)
The Tigers will begin selling tickets for the upcoming season beginning on 2/10.
A woman taking three suits to Koshien Stadium on Monday was reportedly robbed of one suit on Monday. According to Koshien officials, at around 3:30pm on Monday, a woman that was delivery three suits to Koshien Stadium was robbed by a man riding a bicycle. The man bumped into the woman (she wasn't hurt) and grabbed one of three suits that was contained in a plastic bag. The police were notified of the incident as soon as the woman reported it to stadium officials.
Okinawa mini camp began today for 27 players. Training for pitchers included playing catch and running. Position players worked on their hitting.
Kenta Kurihara apparently met with Manny Ramirez during the workouts he held in Arizona between 1/3 and 1/21. ... Kurihara arrived in Okinawa with four training / massage items he started using this winter: balance ball for his hips / waist; a large tennis ball to help loosen the hip joints; and two kinds of rollers for the calves. He uses all four items for about an hour after practice.
Wladimir Balentien arrived in Japan today.
The Swallows announced today that they changed Yuhei Takai's registered name to 雄平 (Yuhei).
Shohei Tateyama returned from his training in Hawaii yesterday and told reporters that he was able to do a lot of weight training and running during his 1 month stay overseas (actually, a little more since he left on 12/20). Tateyama started the winter at 93kg and packed on 9kg before leaving for Hawaii (from weight training and eating more). Once in Hawaii, he managed to drop that back down to 96kg by maintaining the muscle and getting rid of the fat.
Yokohama Bay Stars
Kenjiro Tanaka and Takayuki Makka were teachers for the day at Kawakami Elementary School in Yokohama today.
Shuichi Murata told reporters yesterday that he's willing to give Yoshitomo Tsutsugo any advice he needs during the course of the season -- "I'll reply over the phone, via email... I'll be open 24 / 7."
Michihiro Ogasawara, Daijiro Tanaka, Kazunari Sanematsu, and Hideki Asai closed out their joint training session in Miyazaki today. The last day of practice included running and strength training exercises in the morning, followed by playing catch, taking grounders, and BP in the afternoon.
Ryuichi Kajimae closed out his training at Giants Stadium today. He worked out for about 2 hours (fielding practice, BP) with Hayato Sakamoto.
Shugo Fujii tossed 110 pitches in the bullpen today.
The Giants will have a sterilization mats at all the training facilities they'll be using while in Miyazaki (a total 28 places) due to the recent bird flu outbreak.
Adam Bright arrived in Japan today.