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CL News and Notes: Hanshin Tigers may turn to Takahiro Arai at first in the later innings

by on Aug.28, 2011 @ 3:56 pm, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

Kyuji Fujikawa is just one game away from becoming the 87th pitcher in NPB history (5th in franchise history) to appear in 500 games.  He's also 1 save from his third 30+ save season.

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With Craig Brazell out, it seems the Tigers will be keeping Matt Murton in the number 5 hole.

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The Tigers will likely promote Masashi Nohara today.  The coaches also decided yesterday to take Hiroyuki Kobayashi off the active roster today so that he can spend some time making some adjustments at Ni-gun.

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There appears to be a possibility that Takahiro Arai will be shifted from third to first, especially in the later innings or during extra-inning games (the team wants to avoid taking his bat out of the line-up and they don't want to waste any players off the bench).

Arai also spent some time working on his throws (with some guidance from Akinobu Mayumi) during pre-game practices yesterday.

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The Tigers apparently no longer feel they need to keep Tomoaki Kanemoto out of the starting line-up during games in bad weather because his right shoulder has improved to the point where he isn't struggling as much to throw the ball.

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Takumi Akiyama was slated to make his first Ichi-gun start of the season today, but with yesterday's rain-out, that's no longer the case -- Randy Messenger, who was supposed to pitch yesterday, will likely pitch today.

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Tomoyuki Kubota gave up a run  on 2 hits over an inning of work during a Ni-gun game against Chunichi yesterday.

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Arai and Takashi Toritani are both scheduled to earn FA options on 9/3 (Arai international and Toritani domestic).  The media learned yesterday that the Tigers have already begun making preparations to talk to both players as soon as they can -- not serious negotiations, but just to throw out feelers and to make sure they know they're needed.

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Yesterday's rain-out was the Tigers' 8th of the season.  None of the game have been rescheduled as of yet, but they'll have to be played out between 10/13 and the 2 days before the start of the Climax Series.

Yakult Swallows

Norichika Aoki spent some time taking one-hop pitch BP yesterday.

"Right now, Aoki is moving before he knows where the ball is going," said batting coach Shinichi Sato.  "By throwing the ball on a one-hop, he'll need to really focus on the ball.  It will also help him with his timing."

Added Aoki, "I haven't managed to get over that hump, even though I've come close a number of times.  I need to get my average above .300, but [based on how I'm swinging the bat right now] it isn't likely.  That why I need to make adjustments."

Yokohama Bay Stars

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo is scheduled to join the Ichi-gun roster today.