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CL News and Notes: December 17, 2011

by on Dec.18, 2011 @ 2:20 am, under NPB

Chunichi Dragons

Tony Blanco on next season, via Sports Hochi:

The manager decides whom he wants to play.  All I can do is do my job whenever I am given the chance. ... My goal is to play in a lot of games.  If I want to have a good season, I need to increase the number of games I play in. ... I think [Yamasaki] is a great hitter.  He will put press on me and I hope I can hit over 30 homers next season.

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Takeshi Yamasaki's comments on Tony Blanco, via Nikkan Sports:

[Blanco] is head of me right now.  [I need to figure out] how to fill the gap and surpass him by opening day.  He is a tough opponent. ... I want to keep things light while competing instead of making things heavy and serious.

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Morimichi Takagi was a guest at Gifu Baseball Forum 2011 on Friday.  During the event, he said the following about Wei-Ying Chen:

"[Chen] is a reliable starter.  It would be great if he stayed, but free agency is a right he earned. ... I hear that he received better offers from other teams."

Hanshin Tigers

Issei Morita and Hirokazu Shiranita visited Dream Koshien, a facility for people with disabilities, on Saturday.

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The media learned on Friday that the bullpen area at Ginoza Stadium (Okinawa spring camp location) will be expanded from five mounds to six mounds.  The Tigers have also made a number of other requests.

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Team owner Shinya Sakai told reporters on Friday that with Ryota Igarashi no longer in the picture, they may still try to improve their pitching staff by pulling off a trade, assuming they can find a player they like.

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The Tigers have apparently decided to have Craig Brazell provide weekly updates on his training program during the winter.  Brazell came to Japan last season 13kg overweight and the team wants to make sure that does not happen again next year.

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Kohei Shibata has once again included swimming in his training this winter since it worked well for him last year.

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Shinjiro Hiyama spent over 6 hours at Koshien on Friday for rehab and training.  Hiyama also told reporters that he will not have surgery to remove the metal plate that is currently holding his collarbone together (collarbone fracture) because it will delay his return by about two months.

On Saturday, Hiyama invited the Meguro Nishi Little League Senior baseball team to Jingu Stadium for a baseball clinic.

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Akihito Fujii and Ryo Watanabe attended a Christmas talk session at Hotel Hanshin on Saturday.

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Keiichi Hirano told kids during a talk session at a hospital on Friday that he can not help himself when it comes to head first slides, even though he knows they can be dangerous.

Yakult Swallows

Yoshinori was shop manager of the day at S'port Mizuno on Saturday.  Tsubakuro was vice shop manager of the day.

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Hiroyasu Tanaka plans to spend some time working out with sprinter Shinji Takahira during the off-season.  He is also working on improving his balance.

Tanaka's salary negotiations on Friday apparently lasted about two hours because he was trying to keep his salary at or about the 100M yen mark instead of the 98M he ended up agreeing to.

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Shingo Kawabata was taken off the active roster on 10/19 with a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex injury.  As of now, he will be allowed to start swinging the bat again on 1/10/2012.  Kawabata has also ordered a heavier bat for the 2012 season (up 10 grams to 905 grams).

Kawabata also plans to help his younger sister, Yuki Kawabata, purchase a new car with the 18M yen raise he earned this year.

Hiroshima Carp

Soichiro Amaya and Hayato Shinjo took part in Asahi Beer's Carp Oen Fair in Fukuyama, Hiroshima on Saturday.

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Katsuhiro Nagakawa (31) figures if he does not do well next season, it could be his last.

Said Nagakawa, "If I do not make it next season, it will be my last.  If I can not perform, I need to quit.  People that did well this year and do not do well next year still have the following year.  I was in that situation up to now, but I am now in a situation where I can be let go if I do not do well.  Things will change based on whether or not I do well next season."

Nagakawa's troubles began last season with leg/hip problems that limited him to just 29 games over the last two seasons.

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The Amaya and Masato Akamatsu figures that were on display in the outfield stands were taken down on Friday and shipped back to a company in Shobara that created them.  Incidentally, they cost 4M yen to create.

Said owner Hajime Matsuda, "They have fulfilled their duties.  We would also like to make it so that fans can find something new at the stadium every year.  We will find the next big thing."

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Yoshiyuki Ishihara will be in the second year of a three-year deal next season.

Yokohama Bay Stars

Daisuke Miura, Tatsuya Shimozono, and Toshiki Kurobane appeared at a talk session hosted by Keikyu in Kamiooka, Yokohama on Saturday.

5 comments on “CL News and Notes: December 17, 2011

  1. Alex

    Am I to seriously believe that a 43 year old Yamasaki is a contender for the starting first base position over Blanco?

    Are the Dragons that stupid?

    1. Gen Post author

      I guess the best way to answer that question is with another question:

      Would you rather a player approach the season set to compete for a starting job? Or a player that is reserved to being a bat off the bench?

  2. Alex

    Then where are Ibata and Morino’s competition? Morino in particular, considering the huge offensive drop off he had in 2011. Not to mention the other dinosaurs on the squad, why would replacing Blanco with one help? How about giving another younger player a chance?

    Despite his early season struggles and injuries, Blanco’s power numbers were decent and his presence helps a pathetic Dragons offense. To expect an 38 year old Wada to carry the offense again would be a mistake.

    This move just reels of seniority entitlement and a desperate move to appease older fans with former Dragons (like the corpse they brought in to replace the manager)

    1. Gen Post author

      I think this is more a matter of first being Blanco’s job to lose than it being a straight two-way competition for first between Blanco and Yamasaki.

      Takagi did say that Yamasaki was not signed as a pinch-hitter, but that could be posturing. Or it could be that he wants to keep both players motivated. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

      That said, I will agree with you 100% if Takagi doesn’t give Blanco a chance and goes with Yamasaki. But as of now, Takagi has not said that Yamasaki is his every day first baseman.

      IMHO, I see Blanco starting at first with Yamasaki coming off the bench and DH’ing during Inter-league games. And if Blanco gets hurt or hits a rut, you have the option to bring Yamasaki in.

  3. Tim

    “Blanco starting at first with Yamasaki coming off the bench and DH’ing during Inter-league games. And if Blanco gets hurt or hits a rut, you have the option to bring Yamasaki in.” I think this way too. The Dragons do not really have many powerful batter coming off the bench anyway. And who can predict the injuries.

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