Hirokazu Ibata got a start at third last night for the first time in his career (he has played third before, but had never started the game at third).
Takahiro Arai is 5 hits away from becoming the 109th player in NPB history to reach 1,500.
Takashi Toritani showed off his arm during practice yesterday. After taking indoor BP, he played some catch with Kentaro Sekimoto outdoors at Mazda Stadium. Before ending his game of catch, he aired out his arm and threw the ball from home plate off the wall in right. Sekimoto figured Toritani throw carried at least 110 meters.
Yasutomo Kubo could be available to pitch out of the bullpen tonight, what with his start yesterday getting canceled due to the typhoon.
The Tigers have pretty much decided they'd like to have Matt Murton, Craig Brazell, Jason Standridge, and Randy Messenger return with the team next season. The team will likely inform each player through their agents as the second-half of the season begins. Formal negotiations will wait until after the season ends and their final decision will ultimately rest on how each player performs during the second half.
Of these four players, Murton is the trickiest, since he has expressed interest in returning to the Majors next season. That means the team will need to formally decide on what they want to do with Murton as soon as possible.
As for the other three: the club holds and option on Brazell for next season and both Standridge and Messenger have apparently mentioned they'd like to continue pitching in Japan.
Takumi Akiyama was slated to start a practice game today, but it was canceled due to rain. In place of the practice game, he faced 7 batters during situational BP, threw 20 pitches and didn't allow any hits. He was also using a new delivery where he wasn't raising his glove hand as much (instead of raising his glove hand up to around his chest, he stopped around his hips).
Tetsuya Utsumi finally picked up his 10th victory of the year last night (in his 5th attempt) and became the first pitcher in the CL to do so. His 1.50 ERA also paces the CL.
Alex Ramirez did some light running outdoors yesterday and also played some catch. He told reporters that while there was still some pain in his right foot, it was feeling better.
Ramirez took an HBP off his right foot on the 13th and was used as a pinch-hitter on the 14th. He then sat out the last 5 games.
Wladimir Balentien was using Ryoji Aikawa's bat during last night's game against the Yokohama Bay Stars. And it actually started during pre-game BP when he gave Aikawa's bat a test-drive. Regarding the differences: Aikawa's bat is the same weight (at 920 grams) but is 0.5 inches shorter at 33.5 inches.
Said Balentien, "I was only thinking about borrowing the bat for just one at bat. But it felt so great swinging that bat that I just kept using it."
He's also been working on making contact with the ball further out in front.
Balentien went 4-for-5 with 2 homers and 5 RBI last night.
Team owner Hajime Matsuda told reporters yesterday that he planned on keeping Kenjiro Nomura on as manager of the team for at least another year (Nomura has been going year-to-year).
"Of course [he's getting an extension]," said Matsuda. "I'm thinking at least 5 years."
He also added, "He's using young players with confidence. That keeps the farm system motivated and helps raise the bar for the team on a whole."