Tsuyoshi Nishioka dropped by the Minnesota Twins' spring training facilities on the 6th. He told reporters that it was completely different from what he was used to in Japan and that it had everything necessary. Regarding the multiple fields located at the facilities (for use by the entire organization), Nishioka said that it was something Japan should seriously consider because it would be much easier for teams to keep track of Ichi-gun and Ni-gun players.
Nishioka did not do any practicing at the facilities on his visit and instead just rounded up his gear that he sent ahead. He did do some stretching and running near the team hotel.
Koji Uehara left for the US yesterday. Before leaving, he said he looked forward to facing Hideki Matsui and shutting him down. Regarding Hisanori Takahashi, he said that since Takahashi did well last year, he wanted to make sure he had a better season than him this year. He also admitted that he drank alcohol the night before because it was his last day in Japan and that he wouldn't drink another drop until the end of the season. Uehara then added that he didn't want to push himself too hard because he was approaching that age where you begin to see the end and that it was going to be important for him to keep track of how his body was holding up.
Matsui jokingly told reporters yesterday that he'd hit both Uehara and Takahashi batting right handed.
"To counter their forks, I'll bat from the right. But I can hit them [even from] the right!," said Matsui. He then added, "I'd really rather not face my former teammates. I mean, they are my beloved kohai after all."
kohai = usually someone younger than you, although it can also mean someone that has less experience than you; there also tends to be a bond or connection, like high school or work.
Hideki Okajima left for the US today out of Narita airport.
Said Okajima, "I want to stay healthy over the course of the season and do my best for the fans. If I don't get hurt, I think I can pitch in 60+ games this year."
Yoshinori Tateyama left for the US today.
Said Tateyama, "My contract isn't guaranteed. I'll need to put results in the exhibition games. I want to do well beginning with spring training."
Tateyama also told reporters that he was invited to visit Trey Hillman's house if he ended up being assigned to triple-A because his former manager's house was located near the Texas Rangers' triple-A facilities.