Hiroki Yamada worked out at Yahoo Dome yesterday. His 2-hour workouts included: long distance throwing and running in the outfield. Yamada will probably start Friday's game against the Nippon Ham Fighters.
If Hisanobu Watanabe decides to shake things up with the pitching staff, Kazuhisa Makita could be a candidate to close since Brian Sikorski is hurt and Atsushi Okamaoto is at Ni-gun making adjustments.
Chiba Lotte Marines
With Inter-league play over, the Marines will need to find another starter to join Yoshihisa Naruse, Yuki Karakawa, Shunsuke Watanabe, and Tomohisa Otani in the starting rotation. Atsushi Kobayashi is apparently under consideration -- he started a Ni-gun game against Nippon Ham on the 16th and tossed 6 shutout innings and he'll be getting another Ni-gun start on the 22nd against Yakult.
Nippon Ham Fighters
The Ichi-gun Fighters have the day off today as well.
Yuki Saito has been asking by the coaches to focus on throwing a lot of fastballs during his rehab start today. In preparation for this approach, he also increased the number of fastballs he threw during his bullpen sessions on the 17th and 19th. And at this point, it seems unless something really bad happens, Saito will probably return to the active roster in time for a start on the 29th vs Lotte (at Sapporo Dome).
Saito also told Sankei Sports yesterday that his goal is to win 10 games this season by first focusing on 3 victories, then 5-6, and finally 10 (if he pitches well enough, he could get around 15 more Ichi-gun starts this year). He also admitted he was interested in the Rookie of the Year award.
Yu Darvish worked out at Kamagaya during the team's day off yesterday. Workouts lasted about an hour and included: running and a light game of catch. He is currently scheduled to start Friday's game against Softbank.
Kensuke Tanaka will probably get his left ankle checked out at a hospital (to make sure there's no damage to he bones). At worst, he may also not make it back to the active roster until after the All-Star break.
The Inter-league starting rotation included Chihiro Kaneko, Hayato Terahara, Alfredo Figaro, and Shinya Nakayama. With the regular season resuming on Friday, the Buffaloes will return to a 6-man rotation. Two other starters will be selected from the mix of Yuki Nishi, Hiroshi Kisanuki, Chan Ho Park, and Kazuki Kondo. Each is expected to pitch 4 innings in an intra-squad game scheduled for tomorrow and the two best pitchers will get starts during a three game series against the Seibu Lions that begins on the 28th.
Rotation for the first 6 games after the season resumes: Terahara, Figaro, and C. Kaneko vs Lotte and Nakayama plus the two others vs Seibu.
The players returned to Sendai yesterday. There were no scheduled practices, but Ginji spent some time working out at Kleenex Stadium with strategy coach Toru Nimura.