Tsuyoshi Wada gets today's start against the Nippon Ham Fighters. Last year, Wada was 0-2 in 2 starts with a 9.82 ERA (1.73 WHIP) against the Fighters.
The Hawks will rely on Brian Falkenborg to close games while Takahiro Mahara works out kinks in his mechanics. Falkenborg hasn't had to pitch on three consecutive days over the last 2 seasons, but the team may need him to do so at some point. The team also plans on making sure Masahiko Morifuku can step in in case he's needed; Anthony Lerew will also be called up.
Chiba Lotte Marines
Since 2009, Yoshihisa Naruse has won 9 straight against the Orix Buffaloes. He's looking to make that 10 with his start against the Buffaloes today at QVC Marine Field.
Nippon Ham Fighters
Yu Darvish will get today's start against the Softbank Hawks. Masaru Takeda will following with tomorrow's start. While Darvish was "only" 2-3 in 5 starts with a 2.30 ERA (0.81) against the Hawks last season, Takeda went 5-0 in 7 starts with a 1.07 ERA (0.95 WHIP).
Shinya Tsuruoka took BP during practice yesterday for the first time since his surgery. Tsuruoka is scheduled to have a pin removed from his face (that runs from the nose to the forehead area) on the 30th.
FWIW: While there is no pain in the area, Tsuruoka also has no sensation in the area either. It will apparently take about 2 years for that to return to normal.
Yuki Saito became the second rookie to sign an advisory pro staff contract with Mizuno on Monday (from 4/1/2011 to 12/31/2013). The first: Daisuke Matsuzaka in 1999.
Saito has been using Mizuno gloves since his amateur days and has been using Mizuno gloves, bats, cleats, wristbands, and batting gloves since turning pro.
Under the terms of the contract, a Saito model baseball glove will be released by Mizuno later this year in September (for baseball and soft baseball).
FWIW: if Saito wins his next start, he'll be the first pitcher in franchise history to win his first three appearances (not starts) since Yukio Ozaki in 1962 and first in franchise history to win his first three starts. For those interested, Yu Darvish managed to win his first 3 starts, but not his first three starts.
The Eagles expect all their advance order tickets for their Kleenex Stadium home opener to sell out. In order to accommodate fans that weren't able to purchase advance order tickets, the team was able to set aside about 100 same-day tickets. Additional information on the homer opener can be found at the official Eagles' team site.