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2/9/2011: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Kosuke Fukudome, Hideki Matsui

by on Feb.09, 2011 @ 8:01 pm, under MLB

Tsuyoshi Nishioka took fielding practice on the 8th and had a chance to check the dirt and grass portions of the field.  Nishioka played most of his games on artificial turf and will have to learn how the balls reacts to the natural grass and dirt.

He also took some BP and did some running.

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Kosuke Fukudome dropped by the Girls Professional Baseball League practice field on the 9th and showed off his prowess with the bat during a round of BP.  The new Kyoto Asto Dreams manager, Kyosuke Sasaki, go back quite a bit.  When Sasaki was manager of the Kintetsu Buffaloes (1996-1999), he tried to draft Fukudome and even won the rights to negotiate with him, but Fukudome didn't want to play for a Pacific League team (he was apaprently interested in only the Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons) and decided to head to the Industrial League instead.  The two would later be united when Sasaki joined the Chunichi coaching staff as a head / batting coach in 2002 and then as interim manager (20 games) in 2003.

In any case, Sasaki caught wind that Fukudome was looking for a place to take BP and invited Fukudome to take part in his team's practice.

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Hideki Matsui has been ramping up his workouts (he has already managed to swing the bat 103 times during soft-toss BP) and told once again reiterated to reporters that his knee was feeling about as good as it has ever felt since he had the surgery.

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Nikkan Sports mentions how poorly Japanese players ranked in MLB.com 2011 player preview.  They note how Ichiro Suzuki, ranked 70th, is the best Japanese player in the list, followed by Hiroki Kuroda (237th), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (245th), Takashi Saito (265th), Hideki Matsui (342nd), Daisuke Matsuzaka (358th), Kosuke Fukudome (376th), Koji Uehara (418th), Hisanori Takahashi (549th), and Hideki Okajima (654th).

Kenshin Kawakami, Ryota Igarashi, Yoshinori Tateyama, and Kei Igawa did not make it into the ranking.