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Yomiuri Giants Spring Camp News and Notes: February 7, 2011

by on Feb.07, 2011 @ 4:15 pm, under NPB

This post will be updated throughout the day.

===== 2/8 @ 12:36pm

Osamu Higashio's advice to Sawamura: hold on to the ball for as long as you can to mess with the batter's timing.


Ramirez, Torres, and Albaladejo taught a course on Spanish conversation today.

===== 2/7 @ 10:59pm

Shun Tono threw 154 pitches in the bullpen (he also started throwing his fork and mixed in his curve and slider) today while Tetsuya Utsumi threw 134.

When Utsumi was told about the number of pitches Tono threw, Utsumi replied by saying that he would throw 200 tomorrow.

Both pitchers are competing for the opening day start.


Tatsunori Hara worked with Taishi Ota on his hitting today.  Ota also faced Carlos Torres during BP.


Torres faced Daijiro Tanaka and Ota during BP today and threw 43 pitches.  Torres was also hit by a comebacker to the mound (second pitch he threw Tanaka) but appeared to be fine.


Hideki Sunaga threw 26 pitches in the bullpen today.  Sunaga struggled with his control (particularly with the fork) and got some tips from pitching coach Kawaguchi (his body was getting out in front).


Jonathan Albaladejo held a 41-pitch bullpen session today.  It was Albaladejo's second bullpen session this spring.


Both Yoshiyuki Kamei and Hisayoshi Chono were at practice today, despite suffering minor injuries yesterday*.  The Giants had another scare today with Shigeyuki Furuki when he ran into the pitcher.  It seems his injuries weren't major since he continued to take part in practice.

*The Giants originally thought about giving Chono the day off, but he wanted no part of that.  Said Chono, "I'm fine.  It was my fault for not being able to get out of the way."


The veteran group (or the S Group, comprised of Michihiro Ogasawara, Alex Ramirez, Yoshinobu Takahashi, and Yoshitomo Tani) spent the first half of their day working out outdoors (base-running, fielding practice) and then went back indoors for BP.  It was the first time the veteran group practiced outside since the start of spring camp.


Hara showed some interest in what Masahiro Tanaka (RAK) shouted yesterday during the Eagles' morning shout session on the beach.  Seems it reminded him of how Tanaka said he planned on winning the right to wear the number 18 for the next WBC.

===== 2/7 @ 4:15pm

Masumi Hoshino threw 134 pitches in the bullpen yesterday.  General pitching coach Kazuhisa Kawaguchi spent some time watching Hoshino, and even stood in the batter's box to get a closer look at his pitches.


According to Sanspo, Daisuke Ochi threw 54 pitches during BP yesterday and gave up 9 could-be hits while Tetsuya Yamaguchi threw 48 pitches and also gave up 9 could-be hit.


A number of advance scouts watched Hirokazu Sawamura toss BP yesterday.  Here are some of their comments (via Sanspo):

Chunichi -- "He does throw a hard fastball, but velocity means very little in this world.  He opens his body up while throwing the [curve], so it's very easy to see what's coming."

Yokohama -- "He throws fast, but he doesn't seem to be the strikeout type."

A little more on Sawamura's BP outing: he threw a total 55 pitches (at about 70%) and gave up 6 could-be hits.  He broke Hayato Sakamoto's bat on his 15th and 27th pitches.

Sakamoto's comment on the two fastballs that broke his bats: "They were fast.  Both pitches were inside.  I just couldn't get my body ready for it in time."


The Giants drew about 15,500 fans yesterday.

3 comments on “Yomiuri Giants Spring Camp News and Notes: February 7, 2011

  1. bbdad

    Gen…I am trying to figure out why it is so important to throw 134, or 154 pitches in a BP session. If they throw half of them to a standing catcher that is not a BP, that is just tossing…no release points or situations are processed to a standing catcher. I have watched the Hawks on youtube live and they don’t really accomplish anything that tossing or long tossing would do outside. US players will long toss 4-5 days a week to 90-100 meters and toss a 50-60 pitch BP once a week to refine their pitches to a sitting catcher in a game-like situation using all pitches simulating situational batters from stretch and windup depending on their role(starters/relievers). I guess after teaching for years I am a fan of long toss alot, and BP as needed to 60 pitches or so. I have used this for years and have very few pitchers sore or hurt in 20 years or more. Stress plays a large role in injuries and the way I read Japanese pitchers trying to one up each other can sound tough, but be harmful…your thoughts??

    1. Gen Post author

      You may not like the answer, but here goes…

      Throwing bullpen sessions isn’t just about working on mechanics. It all goes back to the concept that baseball is a martial art, that it’s supposed to help provide discipline.

      This is also why practices in Japan still rely on crazy fielding drills that can last hours. I think I’ve already mentioned players like Iwamura taking 200+ grounders during extra fielding practice AFTER regular practice.

      The Japanese culture, in and of itself, is also very much about the process, and not always about the results. In other words, there’s something very beautiful about people struggling to improve themselves. And there are two words that you’ll hear most Japanese say on almost a daily basis: 我慢 (gaman) and 忍耐 (nintai). While they are both usually translated as meaning patience, there not quite the same thing.

      But I’m beginning to digress so I’ll stop here.

      Before I finish though, I should probably also mention that there’s also a concept in Japan where they believe you won’t damage the arm so long as you’re throwing properly. And so there’s also a feeling that if you throw a lot using the proper form, you’re only helping yourself because of things like muscle memory and stamina.

      Again, there’s a lot more to it all than what I’ve written, but I’ll finish it here.

  2. bbdad

    Thanks Gen…always a great resource. I read the book and so has my son. Watching the live video helps me get it…the process, not necessarily the outcome. The book helped alot and it is hard to change old habits(mine) and learning a new culture around baseball will be a good thing. Thanks!!

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