The Samurai All Japan originally hired Akinori Otsuka to be a pitching coach. According to Nikkan Sports, that title has now changed to pitcher / pitching coach. An unnamed team official told reporters that Otsuka was back at about 90% (coming off right elbow surgery) and would make his return to the mound sometime this month. The same official also added that the team would leave everything up to Otsuka with regards to his usage.
Otsuka last officially pitched on 7/1/2007 (as a member of the Texas Rangers against the Boston Red Sox).
As mentioned yesterday, Eri Yoshida took off for the US from Narita Airport yesterday. She will be competing for the 3rd or 4th spot in the starting rotation and told reporters that she was feeling very comfortable about her switch to throwing three-quarters.
Yoshida is also eying the chance to attend an MLB tryout on 6/15 -- but it isn't an automatic right and that means she'll need to do well in order to be selected to go.