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CL News and Notes: January 5, 2012

by on Jan.06, 2012 @ 1:04 am, under NPB

Chunichi Dragons

The Dragons held a ceremony to start the New Year on Thursday.

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Takuya Asao was selected as Toyota's 30th Dragons Crown Award winner on Thursday.  Asao gets a free Crown Hybrid (est value 5.4M yen).

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Hirokazu Ibata plans on swinging a 1kg training bat around during spring camp in preparation for using a heavier bat this season (from 900 grams to 920-940 grams).

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Masahiro Yamamoto might change the way he throws his screwball and is looking to mess around with a cutter-like pitch.  Yamamoto's goal for the 2012 season is to win 10+ games and remain in the starting rotation the entire season.

Yakult Swallows

The Swallows opened for business on Thursday.

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A number of players, including Masanori Ishikawa and Yasushi Iihara, worked out at the Jingu Gaien indoor training facilities on Thursday.

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The media learned on Wednesday that Tetsuya Yamamoto (26) filed marriage papers with a piano instructor (23) from Osaka on 12/25/2011.

Yomiuri Giants

The Giants opened for business on Thursday.

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Tetsuya Utsumi, Hirokazu Sawamura, Shun Tono, Tetsuya Yamaguchi, Jumpei Ono, and Yuki Koyama took off for Guam, out of the Narita Airport, on Thursday.  After arriving in Guam, the five checked into their hotel and then went out shopping.  They will begin their workouts on Friday.

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Norihito Kaneto was the first player to player at Giants Stadium this year -- 8:30am on Thursday.  Kaneto will be leaving for Hawaii within the next few days to work out with other players like Hisanori Takahashi.

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With advice from Shunnsuke Abe, Taishi Ota took 120 swings during BP on Wednesday and hit 20 over the fence -- seven of which came in ten swings immediately after Abe gave Ota some tips (one of which was apparently to imagine hitting the ball to right-center while trying to pul it).

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The Giants announced a number of personnel changes, including:

Leaving (effective 12/31/2011): Team develop, senior advisor Haruki Ihara (62); BP pitcher Akihito Kitano (50)

Leaving (effective 1/1/2012): scout Susumu Omata (60)

Joining (effective 1/1/2012): Terumitsu Kumano (54) as scout based out of Osaka; Masafumi Togano (27) as BP pitcher

Hanshin Tigers

The Tigers held a ceremony to begin the New Year at their team office in Nishinomiya on Thursday.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto worked out for about two hours at Athelete (gym) in Hiroshima on Thursday.  He told reporters that he felt this year was his last chance at making a comeback.

Kanemoto was also joined by Takahiro Arai and Nippon Ham Fighter Sho Nakata.

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Ryota Arai and Hiroki Uemoto worked out at their alma mater Koryo High School on Wednesday.

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Team owner Shinya Sakai's kanji of the year for the Tigers is .

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Yutaka Wada appeared at a talk session with Atsushi Nomi and Keiichi Hirano on Wednesday and told fans that he hoped the two worked out a deals before spring camp begins.  Yasutomo Kubo has not signed yet either.

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4th round draft pick Kazuo Ito worked out at Tokyo Kokusai Unversity on Wednesday.

Hiroshima Carp

The Carp announced on Thursday that Kenta Maeda (23) filed marriage papers with freelance reporter Saho Narushima (26) on 1/1/2012.

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Eishin Soyogi held a talk session in Hiroshima on Wednesday and told fans that he and his left knee were at about 60-70% and is hoping to be at about 80-90% by the time spring camp starts.  600 fans attended the event.

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1st round pick Yusuke Nomura plans to continue using his blue glove.

On Thursday, Nomura worked out for about three hours in Kurashiki.  Workouts included running, taking grounders, and playing catch (about 30 tosses).

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4th round pick Shohei Habu is thinking about going back to making red his primary color after he switched to blue during his senior year in college because he was trying to change his luck a bit.

Yokohama Bay Stars

The Bay Stars opened for business in 2012 on ThursdayAbout 100 employees attended the ceremony.

The team slogan was also revealed: 熱いぜ!横浜DeNA (We're fired up! Yokohama DeNA)

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Kiyoshi Nakahata invited Komazawa University's track and field manager Hiroaki Oyagi to be a guest instructor during spring camp.