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2/16/2011: Kenshin Kawakami, Hisanori Takahashi, Koji Uehara

by on Feb.16, 2011 @ 12:10 pm, under MLB

Kenshin Kawakami is having some troubles renewing his visa and passport and is still in Japan.  He probably won't be able to get to the US until some next week at the earliest.  Atlanta Braves' GM Frank Wren told the press that it couldn't be helped because they could inform Kawakami about their decision to invite him to Spring Training sooner.  Wren also said that they considered Kawakami a starter and will have him prepare for the season as a starter.  He then added that a trade was still possible, depending on whether or not they were able to find a good trade partner.


Hisanori Takahashi didn't do any pitching practice on the 15th and instead did other things like take fielding practice.  When Takahashi was asked to compare Spring Training workouts (between the Mets and Angels) he said, "It seems like they're a lot more organized over here."  The Angels are also cutting Takahashi some slack and are allowing him to do his own thing.


Koji Uehara shed 3kg during the off-season and currently weighs 86kg (the same amount he weighed during his first year in the pros).  Said Uehara, "I increased my weight [before] thinking it would help put me on the same level as the foreigners, but that was a mistake."


Via Nikkan Sports -- USA Today posted a Countdown of the 100 Names You Need to Know and Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the 5th name listed.

A batting champ in Japan last season, Nishioka, 26, might be described as "Ichiro Light." Of course, Ichiro anything is a pretty good start for the shortstop signed through the posting system. He's a slashing hitter, and we should know from Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki that Japan's best hitters with that style can handle harder-throwing major league pitchers. A shortstop in Japan, Nishioka is more likely to play second base now that he's off Japan's mostly turf fields and into the slightly quicker North American game, much like the transition made by Kaz Matsui after he crossed the Pacific.


Daisuke Matsuzaka had a chance to meet new pitching coach Curt Young during a meeting on the 14th (15th in Japan) and had this to say:

They said it was important to communicate with the new pitching coach. ... He seems to be a down to earth and laid back kind of guy.  I'd like to ask him some questions, like why the A's pitching staff was so good last year.

For practice on the 15th, he spent most of his time working on fielding drills.