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Yuki Saito Spring Camp News and Notes: February 6, 2011

by on Feb.06, 2011 @ 12:14 pm, under NPB

This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.

===== 2/6 @ 9:32pm

Saito had a meeting with pitching coaches Masato Yoshii and Hiroshi Shibakusa today to talk about a number of things, including his mechanics and his approach to pitching.  Saito apparently told the two pitching coaches that he knew it would be difficult to strike batters out with just a fastball, so he figured it would be best to get batters out by making them hit the ball.  Saito then added that he ideally didn't want to become a finesse pitcher and wanted to instead polish his fastball to become a strikeout pitcher.

===== 2/6 @ 3:02pm

Saito's morning session included playing catch, working on run down plays, shuttle runs, and trunk exercises.  And while moving from the secondary field to the main field for lunch, the cordon the police set up couldn't keep the fans back and at one point, Saito was stuck in a throng of people -- Saito couldn't move forward and a number of fans were apparently knocked down.

About 3,000 fans showed up at Nago today.

===

Yu Darvish pulled a little prank on Saito today: Darvish crept up behind Saito and gently placed his right hand on his shoulders and left a sticker behind (a sticker made by the company that provides Darvish his vitamin supplements).  Saito didn't realize what Darvish did and walked around for a little while with the sticker on his shoulder.  Darvish later told reporters that it turned out to be a great advertising opportunity.

===== 2/6 @ 12:14pm

Saito threw yesterday's bullpen session at 70-80%.  He also threw from the set and no-windup positions.  The 88 pitches Saito threw were apparently tied into Masataka Nashida's uniform number, also 88.    He also threw 8 warm-up pitches to a standing catcher.

The large crowds (media included) also apparently made it difficult for the advance scouts to get a good look at Saito (bullpen area apparently has two viewing sections, the Northern section is open to the press and scouts while the Southern section is open to fans).  I think I remember TV reports last night mentioning how some fans waited near the bullpen for a few hours before Saito's actual appearance because they weren't sure when he was going to pitch.

Saito is scheduled to toss another bullpen session on Monday.  He'll then make an appearance as a BP pitchers on the 10th and will also pitch in a practice game against Samsung on the 13th.

===

Ichiro Suzuki spoke briefly to reporters about his workout with Saito on 1/30.  Seems Ichiro was most impressed with the two-handed handshake Saito gave him.

"The thing that surprised me the most was the handshake," said Ichiro.  "I was shocked.  He shook my hand with both hands, like this."

Ichiro continued, "When someone shakes your hand like this during the first time you meet them, and then when they switch to a one-handed handshake, that's when you can say that person has grown.  It was kind of like that."

Regarding Saito throwing BP to him:

"He wasn't throwing very fast, but he was randomly throwing his pitches.  There was no, a slider is coming next signal.  Slider, change...  He was also throwing a good fork.  He had really good control."

===

An elementary school kid won Saito's autograph at yesterday's Fighters' fan meet and greet.