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Hanshin Tigers Spring Camp News and Notes: February 15, 2011

by on Feb.15, 2011 @ 10:56 am, under NPB

This post will be updated throughout the day.

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Today's practice game against the Kochi Fighting Dogs (Ni-gun):

Koji Yoshioka (Ikusei) started the game and pitched 5 shutout innings while giving up 2 hits.

Shintaro Tanaka (Ikusei) hit a 2-run homer out to left-center in the 4th inning with 2 out.

Kosei Fujii (Ikusei) hit a 2-run homer in the 7th.

===== 2/15 @ 9:50pm

The Tigers announced that Robert Zarate was diagnosed with minor internal bruise in his left biceps brachii muscle (上腕二頭筋の軽度の挫傷).  Zarate complained of tightness in his left arm during practice on the 12th and went to the hospital on the team's day off yesterday for an MRI.  The Tigers have decided to shut Zarate down until the pain subsides.

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Yasutomo Kubo held a press conference today to formally announce that he signed a contract with the Tigers for the 2011 season.  As mentioned before, he signed a deal that was reportedly worth 180M yen (up 92M yen over last year).

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Tomoaki Kanemoto took 61 swings during BP today and hit 1 over the fence.

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Takahiro Arai took 116 swings during lunchtime BP today and hit 36 over the fence.

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Daiki Enokida (1st round) threw 131 pitches in the bullpen today.  He also mixed in all his off-speed pitches: curve, slider, cutter, screwball, and fork.  This was Enokida's first 100+ pitch bullpen session this spring.

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Atsushi Nomi threw 100 pitches in the bullpen today.  Nomi wasn't too satisfied with the outing and told reporters that he couldn't find any consistency with his pitches.

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Jojima caught some pitchers in the bullpen today (standing).  He also did some running and took some BP indoors.

===== 2/15 @ 10:56am

Now that Jeff Williams has decided to retire, the Tigers will begin talking to him about a US-based scouting job.  At this point, it seems Williams is interested in working with the Tigers.

Incidentally, it seems Williams was feeling 100% healthy at the start of the year, but then started feeling some pain in his left shoulder toward the end of January.  He took 2 weeks of and restarted his rehab, but the pain still remained.  Williams got an MRI and doctors found what appears to be a new injury that could take over 6 months for a full recovery.

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Ken Nishimura may not be able to pitch in any games (or game-like practices) until March.  Nishimura started spring at Ni-gun camp so that he could take things slow after appearing in 65 games last year.  But because he hasn't managed to get things going yet, the Tigers don't want to push him too hard.  At this point, he will probably be sent down to Naruohama with the rest of the Ni-gun group when Ni-gun camp ends on the 22nd.  And if he tosses any BP, it'll probably be at Naruohama.

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The Tigers plan on holding a meeting to discuss Kenji Jojima's rehab schedule once the Ichi-gun team begins the second leg of their training camp from Aki, Kochi (which begins on the 19th).  The meeting will probably involve the coaches / manager, the trainer, and Jojima.

Jojima - "I first need to speak to the coaches.  I need to figure out what kinds of things they want me to work on.  And I think they also need to see how well I'm moving in order for them to make some decisions."

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Akinobu Mayumi told reporters yesterday that he more or less has an idea of who the first four starting pitchers are in the rotation.

"This year it'll be easy to decide, or rather, it has already been decided, which pitchers will take the first four spots in the rotation.  But I guess it was the same last year.  I still can't take a breather."

Sanspo figures it to be Yasutomo Kubo, Atsushi Nomi, Jason Standridge, and Minoru Iwata.

It appears Mayumi may have also reset the clock on the starting center field job as well.  After both Katsuhiko Saka and Shunsuke Fujikawa had bad games against the Yakult Swallows on Sunday, Mayumi may not be convinced they're ready for the job.  That means other players might still have a chance.  As of now, Saka will probably be in center and Shunsuke in left for tomorrow's practice game against the Nippon Ham Fighters (same setup as Sunday's game).

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Randy Messenger's 2011 Sanspo Tigers' Promise - to hit at least on home run during the season.  If Messenger doesn't make good on the promise, he'll give Sanspo a few autographed items.  If he manages to hit a home run, Sanspo will give Messenger some children's clothing.

Messenger's 2010 promise was to either record 13 holds or 17 hold points.  Sanspo was promised autographed items, but the righty said that there was no deal because he was converted into a starter partway through the season (26 games, 14 starts).

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Tomoaki Kanemoto and Kyuji Fujikawa both received a team high of 15 boxes of chocolateShinobu Fukuhara received 11 boxes; and the Arai brothers each received 7 boxes.