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Yuki Saito Spring Camp News and Notes: February 9, 2011

by on Feb.09, 2011 @ 11:50 am, 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.

===== 2/10 @ 1:10am

Nashida told reporters today that he'll probably have Saito face Sho Nakata and Yoshio Itoi during BP tomorrow (2/10).

===== 2/9 @ 11:50am

Tatsunori Hara has apparently contacted Masataka Nashida about the possibility of setting up a Hirokazu Sawamura (YOM, 1st round) vs. Saito match-up during one of their exhibition games at Sapporo Dome (perhaps as early as 3/5).  A lot will depend on where the two pitchers are at that point, but if they're both capable, there's a chance it could happen.

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The Fighters and the Samsung Lions are scheduled to play a practice game on the 13th.  Saito is expected to make his debut in the game.  Because it will be the last day of a three day weekend, team officials are expecting a fairly large turnout.  There's also some concern about traffic conditions, so much so that city and highway officials are thinking about closing off one of the lanes on the national highway between Nago and Onna-son (where the Lions will be coming from).

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Saito proactively joined Yu Darvish and a number of other pitchers that were working on fielding bunts and throwing over to second yesterday.  Pitching coach Hiroshi Shibakusa told reporters that while Saito was good at making the pivot for the throw to second and a pretty decent fielder overall, there were some minor issues with how he approached the ball (specifically with his footwork; and he even stopped the session a number of times in order to point out the problems).  By the end of practice though, Saito was apparently doing much better and Shibakusa added that he expected Saito to become a very good fielder as well.

Shibakusa also spent about 30 minutes talking to Saito after fielding practice.

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Saito's parents visited the Fighters' camp facilities yesterday and watched their son practicing.