Sponichi has posted the following comments from Tomoyuki Sugano:
How did you spend the New Year?
I did some things like light running to stay in shape.
Do you feel worried about not being able to play in any games?
I can not really say until I experience, but I am not feeling too worried right now. I pitched a lot the last four years. I do not think I will lose the feel for pitching over a 10-month period.
The other two from [last year's] Big Three, Takahiro Fujioka and Yusuke Nomura, all turned pro.
I would like to see them succeed. I want to join them as soon as possible. I will do my best to make sure there is not much of a difference between our [skill levels] when I turn pro.
Tokai University manager Hitoki Yokoi plans to provide Sugano with whatever support he can, like taking him to spring camp in Okinawa, allowing him to pitch during situational BP and intra-squad games, and whenever else possible. There is also chance he might be selected to play in the World University Baseball Championship in July and the Asian Baseball Championship in August, but that will largely depend on whether or not the amateur organizations are ok with giving a player that passed on the draft a chance to play on the international stage.
And Hideki Kuriyama told reporters on Saturday that he still wanted Sugano to join the Nippon Ham Fighters, but that if things did not work out, he wished him a long and prosperous career. The Fighters have until 3/31 to negotiate with Sugano.