Batting coaches Yutaka Wada and Atsushi Kataoka spoke to Ryota Arai, Kohei Shibata, Hiroki Uemoto, and Yamato for about 5 minutes after situational BP on Thursday. The coaches reminded them to take every chance they got seriously and that there were other players waiting in the lower ranks. Bottom line message to the four youngsters: don't take current opportunities for granted.
During situational BP, Arai went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts; Shibata 2-for-3; Uemoto 1-for-3 with a sac hit; and Yamato 0-for-3 with a strikeout looking.
Sanspo notes that there's a chance Kentaro Sekimoto could return to the active roster on Saturday.
Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi told reporters on Thursday he still had some gas left in the tank and wanted to continue pitching next year.
For his last Ni-gun start on Friday, Shimoyanagi tossed 2 shutout innings while allowing 2 hits. Fans also packed the stadium (about 1,300 of them) for one last chance to see him pitch in a Tigers' uniform (the game started at 12:30 but there was a full house by 10:45).
Dicky Gonzalez has shown good progress (right hamstring strain) and might be able to return to the active roster before the end of the regular season. Gonzalez's leg is close to 100%: he's been able to run 40-meter dashes without any problems and he is already playing catch at distances of about 60 meters. He should be able to toss a bullpen session shortly and might be able to pitch in rehab games sometime later this month or early next month.
Yokohama Bay Stars
Tomokazu Oka is scheduled to get his right shoulder cleaned out some time within the next few days. The hope is for him to be fully healed in time for the 2012 season.
The Bay Stars held a board of directors meeting on Thursday in order to discuss a number of issues, including team performance and revenue.