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Chunichi Dragons Spring Camp News and Notes: February 8, 2011

by on Feb.08, 2011 @ 3:05 pm, under NPB

This post will be updated throughout the day.

===== 2/8 @ 11:25pm

Maximo Nelson faced 6 batters during situational BP today and struck out 4 batters (3 of which came in a row).  His fastball also topped out at 149km/h.

===== 2/8 @ 10:16pm

Wei-Ying Chen threw 173 pitches in the bullpen in the morning (primarily fastballs) and 30 pitches in the afternoon (standing catcher).  In between the two sessions, he did long some toss.


Daiki Yoshikawa (2nd round) took part situational BP today and struck out looking in his first AB and walked in his second AB.

===== 2/8 @ 3:05pm

Hirokazu Ibata invited Yohei Oshima to work out with him on the team's day off yesterday.  They started things off with about 30 minutes of running and stretching.  Ibata then spent about 40 minutes in the batting cages.

Said Ibata, "I decided I would do this before the start of camp.  There are a couple of things I'm looking to change.  And I feel if I take the day off, my body will forget.  This year, I want to pull the ball.  I was too stiff last year.  I want to take an easier approach to hitting the year, keep things simple."

Ibata also asid that he planned to work out during the team's next day off as well.


Masahiro Yamamoto played some catch (at a distance of about 20 meters) on the team's day off yesterday.

Said Yamamoto, "It's all better now.  I couldn't walk 4 days ago.  If you consider that, I've come a long way."

During practice today, he also started jogging a little (between the outfield poles, for about 40 minutes).


A Curry House Coco Ichi-ban will be opening up at Nagoya Dome on 2/12.  During night games, the curry restaurant will open at noon and close when the game ends.


Nikkan Sports has the following comments from Joel Guzman (taken yesterday):

The first block of spring camp in Japan is over, a tough 6 day work schedule.  Your thoughts?

It's just an amazing amount of practicing.  I heard about how tough practices were before coming to Japan, but it was even more than that.  Every player on this team, works really hard during practice in order to win.

During a game of situational BP, you managed to collect 2 hits.  They say you've got good bat speed.

Really?  I think Tony Blanco has better bat speed than me.  I have a bigger body, but I don't take big cuts.  If you swing too hard, you won't get good results.  It isn't about using all your power, it's about trying to relax your entire body while swing the bat.

You went to the US after signing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers when you were 16.  People in the Dominican Republic talk about how great a player you are, why did you decide to come to Japan?

I actually knew that the level of play in Japan was pretty high from before.  When I played for Tampa I faced [Daisuke] Matsuzaka.  I ended up striking out swinging and grounding out to short.  I was surprised at how many off-speed pitches he had.  I've also faced [Kei] Igawa at triple-A.  And there's nothing more I can say about the way Ichiro plays.  It was because of him that I have such a good image of Japanese baseball.  The Dragons have been talking to me over the last 3-4 years.  But I had my contract and then I decided to try playing in Japan.

Why couldn't you make it in the US?

Because I was still a kid back then.  I didn't have any experience.  I had potential and confidence, but that wasn't enough.  Now, I have experience under my best.  I spent 10 years in the US and I learned discipline through playing baseball.  When I played for the Dodgers, Mariano Duncan said to me, "Keep things simple.  Stay true to yourself."  I still remember those words.

Discipline fits well with Japanese baseball and Hiromitsu Ochiai's style.

I suppose.  I'm 26, but there are players like 38-year-old [Kazuhiro] Wada and 40-year-old [Motonobu] Tanishige that practice really hard.  And watching them gets me going.  If I see them working hard, it makes me feel like I have to do more.

Has Ochiai said anything to you specifically?

Since the start of camp, Ochiai did tell me to be careful about getting hurt during camp.  He also asked that I prepare myself for the start of opening day.  Bottom line, I'm ready to play baseball in Japan for a long time.  I'll do my best to help win a championship.