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2/18/2011: Ryota Igarashi, Takashi Saito, Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on Feb.18, 2011 @ 11:28 am, under MLB

Ryota Igarashi threw 44 pitches in the bullpen on the 17th (18th in Japan).  Since he worked on keeping his off-speed pitches down low, he ended up bouncing his curve in front of the catcher a number of times.  Igarashi also worked on his fork a lot during the off-season.

Igarashi - "I focused too hard on throwing my pitches down that I couldn't throw a single strike.  My fastball wasn't that great either, so I [give the session] a 65. ... Last year I was afraid [to throw the fork] and I think if I can keep it down low, I can avoid giving up big hits."

Igarashi wanted to be ready to throw on the first day of Spring Training and began a throwing schedule in early January this year (2 weeks earlier than last year).  He also met with new manager Terry Collins on the 15th and was given the green light to do what he needed in order to prepare himself for the season (no pitch limits during bullpen sessions).

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Takashi Saito was so excited about the start of Spring Training that he woke up at 4:30am.

Said Saito, "No matter how many time I do this, I get excited and nervous. ... I'm lucky to have been able to play for this long."

Saito's first day of Spring Training consisted mostly of fielding practice.

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According to Nikkan Sports, pitching coach Curt Young is ok with Daisuke Matsuzaka doing whatever he feels he needs to do, so long as he remains healthy.

For practice on the 17th, Matsuzaka worked on infield drills (like covering first base and executing pick-off plays).

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Hiroki Kuroda threw 36 pitches in the bullpen on the 17th.  Of the 36 pitches he threw, 15 were curves.  He also did ran some sprints, did some fielding practice, and checked on the rotation of his pitches while playing catch.

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Yoshinori Tateyama held a bullpen session on the 17th and also tossed BP to minor league players -- 23 pitches to a standing catcher and then he faced two minor leaguers during BP and threw 14 pitches while allowing 1 could-be hit.  Tateyama seemed satisfied with his outing and told reporters that he threw at about 80%.

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The Minnesota Twins are prepared to provide Tsuyoshi Nishioka with whatever the support he needs.

Director of Baseball Communications for the Twins, Mike Herman, has even prepared a bunch of Japanese business cards for when he needs to interact with the Japanese media.

For practice on the 17th, Nishioka took some grounders on the field with Alexi Casilla.