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CL News and Notes: January 1, 2012

by on Jan.02, 2012 @ 1:55 am, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

1st round draft pick Hayata Ito worked out for about two hours at his alma mater, Hatayama Junior High, on Sunday -- like running, playing catch, and taking BP.  About 350 fans showed up to watch the rookie.

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Yutaka Wada job will be to help guide the team during their transition from veteran players to younger players while keeping the team competitive enough to win a championship.

Yomiuri Giants

The Giants' slogan for 2012: Show the Spirits 躍動.

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Tetsuya Utsumi worked out for about three hours in Kyoto on Sunday -- workouts included running, playing catch, and fielding grounders.

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Toshiya Sugiuchi could become the first pitcher to win Sawamura Awards in both leagues.

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The Giants plan to have two basic groups for spring camp this year: Ichi-gun and Ni-gun (no more S, for Special, group for veterans).

Yakult Swallows

Junji Ogawa told reporters on Saturday that Katsuki Akagawa is one of the candidates to start the opening day game this year.  Other possibilities could include Masanori Ishikawa and Kyohei Muranaka.  Regarding Shohei Tateyama and Yoshinori Sato: Tateyama will not be available until a little later (returning from surgery to fix a blood flow problem in his fingers) and Yoshinori is still a question mark after he struggled with right shoulder pains last season.

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Hiroyasu Tanaka will be heading to the US on 1/4 and will spend about two weeks working out at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles.  Tanaka goal will be to strengthen his trunk muscles.

Yokohama Bay Stars

Batting coach Kazuhiko Ishimine does not necessarily care if players strikeout a lot, so long as they come through with runners in scoring position.

Said Ishimine, "Shinjo struck out, but he seemed to come through a lot in the clutch.  He was something else. ... The players [on this team] had fairly decent numbers but they did not score any runs.  They need to learn how to score runs."

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GM Shigeru Takada told reporters he got a call from team president Jun Ikeda expressing his interest in Hideki Matsui.

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The media learned on Saturday that the 2012 team uniforms will loosely be based on the uniforms they wore between 1993 and 2008.  For example, they are bringing back the pinstripes (home unis) and the start (on the cap).