267 players, staff, and family took off for the Dragons' championship trip to Hawaii on Wednesday. They are scheduled to return on 12/20.
The group also held a celebration party at the team hotel.
Yutaka Wada hinted that there might be a chance Kenji Jojima will play some first next season, especially in games where he is not catching (like when they want his bat in the line-up but also want to give his knees some rest). He also said that he already spoke to Jojima about it and that he would likely not consider it unless Jojima had a chance to try things out at first during spring camp.
Takahiro Arai was a guest on ABC Radio's Sports ni Pitatto on Wednesday and said that for him to be satisfactory season next year, he will need to drive in around 110 to 120 runs, especially with the kind of players he has batting in front of him.
Owner Shinya Sakai told reporters on Wednesday that he plans to hold a New Year gathering next year (manager, coaches, front office).
GM Shoji Numasawa told reporters that while Akihito Fujii's salary for 2012 did not change, his incentives were tweaked a bit.
On Wednesday, Fujii spoke to reporters and said he felt that next season was probably going to be a make or break year for him and that if he was not careful, he might be out of a job in 2013 (he will be in the final year of a two-year deal next year).
Minoru Iwata met with the Tigers for about 66 minutes on Wednesday and put their 55M yen (up 25M yen) offer on hold. His reason for putting the offer on hold apparently had less to do with money (although he did admit there was a small gap) than it did with getting them to understand he had a solid season (169 IP, 2.29 ERA) despite a losing record (9-13). He also brought additional information (like quality starts, WHIP) with him that also included stats for his teammates as well. Bottom line: it seems he wanted to show the team that there were other stats to consider when making salary assessments. The team, however, appears set on the system they currently have.
The two sides will likely meet again some time next week.
The Tigers will allow fans to check out season ticket seats at Koshien Stadium for free between 11am and 3pm on 1/20 and 1/21. The first 1,000 fans will also be given free gift.
Yuya Kubo had surgery on his right hip on 11/21. He held rehab sessions at Giants Stadium for the third straight day on Thursday. It was also the second day in a row that he played catch (with Yasunari Takagi, for about 10 minutes) -- on Wednesday, he threw the baseball for the first time since the surgery (between first and second, with Tetsuya Utsumi, for about 15 minutes).
Hirokazu Sawamura and Chono were guests at Nippon Hoso's Show Up Nighter Conference 2012 on Wednesday.
Hayato Sakamoto celebrated his 23rd birthday on Wednesday. He spent about 2 hours working out at Giants Stadium on Thursday.
Yoshinori Sato apparently checked his horoscope before meeting the team on Wednesday and found that his luck number was 3 (his meeting was scheduled for 3:30pm), his lucky color blue (he wore a blue necktie), and his lucky word "nugget" (which he ate before the meeting).
Akihiro Higashide met with the Carp for about an hour and a half on Thursday and agreed to a 100M yen salary. He will be in the final year of a four year deal.
Tomonori Maeda saw his salary drop 14M yen to 56M yen on Wednesday. He will be relied on as a bat off the bench and as a leader to help pull the younger players together. Maeda is hoping for a chance to experience another first place finish since he was not able to enjoy it when the team last finished in first in 1991.
Yokohama Bay Stars
Kiyoshi Nakahata has apparently asked a singer friend of his to write a song for the team. One that he would like to sing, with the fans, after team victories. The request was made on 12/12 and version of the song should be completed by spring camp in February.
Nakahata also told reporters on Wednesday that he does not plan to put much distance between himself and the players, wants to communicate with them both on and off the field, and feels that karaoke might be a good way for players to relieve stress and learn how to become more vocal on the field.
The Bay Stars were originally set to give Shun Yamaguchi 95M yen next season, but he held strong and managed to squeeze out another 5M yen for a total 100M yen (up 46M yen).