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CL News and Notes: December 16, 2011

by on Dec.17, 2011 @ 1:30 am, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

Takashi Toritani participated in Mini Stop Presents Hanshin Tigers Takashi Toritani Christmas Special Talk on Friday.  800 fans attended.

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Yutaka Wada is thinking about using Toritani as a lead-off hitter next year (he likes Toritani's speed and his ability to get on base).  After that, it could be Keiichi Hirano, Matt Murton, and Takahiro Arai.  If Toritani bats third, another spot Wada thinks he can handle, then Murton will probably be bumped up to the lead-off spot.

Other than Murton in right, Wada wants players competing jobs in left and centerTomoaki Kanemoto is penciled in for left, but that could change depending on how his right shoulder is feeling.  The hope is that younger players like Kohei Shibata, Shunsuke, Kenichi Tagami, and 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito compete and motivate each other for jobs in left and center.

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Yasutomo Kubo was a guest on MBS radio's Toragumi Tigers Live! on Thursday and said that he sleeps over ten hours a day (includes two-hour naps) during the off-season because he not only needs to rest his body, but also his mind, after all the training he does.

He also said that he while he currently does not have any desire to pitch in the Majors, things could change.

Said Kubo, "I do not have any interest right now, but that could change if I had a chance to watch world class athletes playing in person.  It also seems like a lot of the players that are going to the Majors now are also players that have participated in the WBC."

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Naoto Tsuru has plans to work out with Kyuji Fujikawa in Okinawa in January.

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When Hirano meets the front office for salary negotiations, heexpects them to recognize what he did for the team this season in terms of playing multiple positions: started 80 games at second base and 62 games in center.

Hirano also apparently sat down with a training coach and decided to add a new exercise to his workouts that should help him handle the new baseball better next season.

On Thursday, Hirano and Arai both participated in a bowling tournament with fans at Otsu Bowl in Otsu, Shiga.  They also took part in a talk session hosted by Hanshin Travel at Biwako Grand Hotel.

On Friday, he visited kids hospitalized at the Hyogo College of Medicine in Nishinomiya, Hyogo.

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Team trainer Yasunori Gondo told reporters on Thursday that Shinjiro Hiyama's (recovering from a fracture in his left collarbone) rehab was going well.

"[Hiyama] is making good progress.  Nothing has gotten worse," said Gondo.  "He will rest the affected part for the duration of the year.  In January, he will undergo some tests and if the fracture is healed, he will be able to start moving [the affected part] around."

Hiyama is currently training at both his home and at Koshien.  He is also scheduled to visit Naruohama in order to confirm his progress and will head to Guam in January to continue in training/rehab.

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Shinta Hifumi had his right shoulder examined (MRI) on Thursday.  As of now, it appears he will not require surgery.

Hifumi started complaining of shoulder pain during spring camp and was shut down.  He started throwing a throwing program at one point but had to be shut down again.  Hifumi is currently working on lower body strengthening exercises while waiting for the green light to begin throwing throwing again.

Yomiuri Giants

Tetsuya Utsumi told reporters on Thursday he was thinking about using a trampoline as part of his training during the winter (to improve balance and to strengthen the lower body).

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Yuya Kubo is using a swivel chair to help him maintain his balance while playing catch.  While he is able to put all of his weight on his right leg (he had surgery on his right hip), he still cannot get around without the use of crutches and wants to avoid as much strain on his right leg as possible.  The swivel chair allows him to throw without placing a lot of weight on his right leg.

Yakult Swallows

The Swallows apparently did not want to give Kazuhiro Hatakeyama an even 100M yen this season because they did not want him to feel completely satisfied with the season he had (for example, his struggles toward the end of the season).

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Norichika Aoki is scheduled to appear on QVC Japan at midnight on 12/17 as a spokesperson for Magniflex.

Hiroshima Carp

During his 90 minute contract negotiations meeting with the team on Thursday, Akihiro Higashide spent most of the time discussing requests that were made by his teammates (he was named chairman of the team's player's group last month).  That included making improvements to the older training facilities, like Yuu Stadium and the Ono indoor facilities.

Higashide plans on working out in Okinawa with Kenta Maeda and Soichiro Amaya in January.

Yokohama Bay Stars

Hichori Morimoto met with the Bay Stars today and agreed to 80M yen plus incentives (no change).  He will be in the second year of a three-year deal next season. ... Yuki Yoshimura met with Yokohama for about 70 minutes on Friday and held off on singing.

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The Bay Stars released Hiroki Sanada on Friday in order to give him more freedom to chase his dreams of playing in the US.

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Kiyoshi Nakahata met with front office on Friday in order to go over a couple of things, like spring training plans/schedules.  Amongst some of the things that were mentioned for spring camp: going with one day of rest for every six days of practice; an increase in practice/exhibition games; implementing evening practices.

Camp schedules will be finalized during a staff meeting in January.

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DeNA is thinking about implementing box seats at Yokohama Stadium in 2013 (not enough time for next season).