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Yuki Saito Spring Camp News and Notes: February 11, 2011

by on Feb.11, 2011 @ 11:43 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.

===== 2/11 @ 10:17pm

Saito will not be traveling with the team for their practice road game against the Hiroshima Carp tomorrow.  Saito will instead stay back in Nago with other players like Yu Darvish and continue their training.  Pitching coach Masato Yoshii told reporters that he wanted Saito to be the first reliever used in Sunday's practice game against Samsung.

===== 2/11 @ 1:33pm

Each batter apparently has about 4 minutes to hit against pitchers.  While Saito managed to throw 59 pitches to two batters yesterday, Masanori Hayashi, the pitcher before Saito, managed to only throw about half that amount in the same amount of time.

===== 2/11 @ 11:43am

Saito left the team hotel at 8:45am this morning.  Saito was a little concerned about how the practice schedule was going to change due to the rain.

===

Daily Sports reports that Sho Nakata took 28 swings against Saito and collected 9 could-be hits, including 7 that went over the fence (5 of which went over the fence toward right).  Sanspo mentions 28 pitches and 24 swings.

Sanspo also lists three things Saito learned from the outing:

Strike zone - "The zone seems about 1-2 balls smaller (than the college strike zone).  Especially the outside corners.  There were a couple of pitches I threw where I felt, 'Oh, ok, this is a ball.'"

Power - "The difference [between the pros and amateurs] is power.  The way the ball comes off the bat is different."

Accuracy - "[Batters hit the ball with] the meat of the bat at a higher percentage.  I might feel that even more during games."

As for what Saito wants to work on now, after having thrown his BP - "I want to work on improving my accuracy on pitches down and away."

Pitching coach Masato Yoshii's thoughts - "He just kept throwing regardless of how hard his pitches were hit.  He also seems to have good control."

Masataka Nashida's thoughts - "He had a good rhythm and threw strikes.  He seems ready to pitch in games."

DYK: the last time the two met was back in 2006 when Nakata went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts; AKB48's Aitakatta (会いたかった) was apparently playing in the background.