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Pacific League News and Notes: January 25, 2011

by on Jan.25, 2011 @ 5:00 pm, under NPB

This post will be updated throughout the day.

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Nippon Ham Fighters

Hirotoshi Masui would like to become the 4th man in the starting rotation this season (behind Yu Darvish, Masaru Takeda, and Bobby Keppel).  On Monday, he threw 30 pitches to a standing catcher.

Ryo Sakakibara threw 35 pitches in the bullpen on Monday.

Masao Kida tossed 80 pitches in the bullpen on Monday (with Yuki Saito watching on)

The Fighters started handing out discount coupons to fans visiting Kamagaya today (first 1,000 fans).  The discount is good for either 500 yen off tickets to Ichi-gun games at Tokyo Dome (S, A, or B reserved seats) or 200 yen off Eastern League games at Kamagaya.

Orix Buffaloes

Takahiro Okada will be appearing in a TV commercial, along with Yoshinori Sato (YAK) and Takuya Asao (CHU), for Mizuno's Global Elite product line.  And Okada was tied up in the commercial shoot (alone) for over 3 hours yesterday.  Okada will head to Miyakojima on the 26th for general training. ... Okada is thinking of starting up his own blog sometime after the start of the regular season.

The Buffaloes announced today that Freddy Ballestas will arrive in Japan tomorrow.

Akinobu Okada, and a number of front office personnel, visited Ikuta Shrine today in order to pray for a successful season.

Softbank Hawks

Bum-Ho Lee will be arriving in Japan on the 28th.  Seems most, if not all, Hawks' foreign players will be returning to Japan on the 28th.

Sho Iwasaki, Keisuke Katto, and Kenji Otonari all tossed about 20 pitches in the bullpen yesterday.  Of particular note may be Iwasaki -- he spent two months in the Puerto Rico Winter League and went 8-1 and won an MVP.  He also gained about 5kg (from 75 to 80).

Hiroki Yamada was working out with Yoshihida Naruse (LOT) in Oyama, Tochigi up until the 23rd.  On Monday, he worked out at the Saitozaki indoor training facilities.  Seems Yamada got some points from Naruse on how to throw the ball; he also apparently took down about 3 pages worth of notes.  The 1-week workout with Naruse was one-on-one and even included eating together.  And the three things he learned from Naruse when playing catch: 1) don't throw the ball from the beginning, 2) don't slow down your arm movement, 3) feel the weight of the ball on your fingertips as your fingers push off on the ball.

Sterilization mats (for foot and mouth disease) will be used at the Ikime Mori Sports Park facilities in Miyazaki beginning on 2/1 due outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in other countries (like Korea).

Rakuten Eagles

Senichi Hoshino is making the rounds on the Sendai TV stations -- he appeared on Sendai Hoso (Fuji TV affiliate) on the 22nd; then NHK Sendai, Miyagi TV (Nippon TV affiliate), and Higashi Nihon Hoso (TV Asahi affiliate) yesterday.  He also let on his idea about converting Daisuke Kudano into a first baseman.

Masahiro Tanaka will likely get a start on 5 days of rest this season, after spending most of the last 4 years pitching on 6 days of rest.  Assuming he does make a start on 5 days of rest, Tanaka could end up with his first 30+ start and 200+ inning season.  Incidentally, Tanaka did make a number of starts on 5 days of rest in 2008 and ended up with just 9 wins (career low) over 25 starts and 172.2 innings.  His career record on start on 5 days of rest: 13 G, 5-3, 4.04 ERA.  Tanaka told reporters yesterday that he wanted to throw in the bullpen before the start of spring camp. Tanaka also spent two weeks, beginning on 1/10, working out in Chiba with Hiroshi Katayama and Wataru Karashima and returned to Sendai yesterday.

Satoshi Nagai tossed 50 pitches in his 7th bullpen session this year yesterday; Hisashi Iwakuma tossed over 100 pitches.

The Eagles will broadcast the first day of spring camp via Nico Nico Channel.  The live feed will be available beginning at 10am.