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Hanshin Tigers: January 14, 2012

by on Jan.15, 2012 @ 12:32 am, under NPB

Takumi Akiyama worked out at Naruohama on Saturday.  Akiyama aired out his arm during long distance throwing (about 70 meters) and later told reporters that he felt no discomfort while throwing the ball.

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Shinta Hifumi and Masahiro Nakatani took fielding practice in the outfield for about 20 minutes on Saturday.  For Hifumi, it was his first session in the outfield since deciding to convert to a position player.

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Yutaka Wada made an apppearance on MBS' Seyanen on Saturday and spoke about his plans for the upcoming season, which included batting Keiichi Hirano and Kohei Shibata in the first two spots in the line-up and the possibility of moving Daiki Enokida into the starting rotation.

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4th round draft pick Kazuo Ito could get a chance to toss a bullpen session as early as 1/16.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto worked out at Athlete (gym in Hiroshima) on Friday.  During squat lifts, Kanemoto managed to lift 160kg and 170kg a total 38 times.  And for the first time since 2001, the circumference of his right thigh hit 66cm.

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Yuya Ando threw a total 96 pitches in the bullpen on Friday: 23 to a standing catcher and 73 to a squatting catcher.  As of now, there is a good chance Ando will get to pitch in practice game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on 2/12.

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Kyuji Fujikawa is currently working out with a group of younger players, including Naoto Tsuru and Ken Nishimura, in Okinawa.

Fujikawa is also scheduled to give players living in the player dorm a lecture later this month on what it means to be a professional athlete.  Fujikawa may be the first active Hanshin player since Masayuki Kakefu to give younger players a lecture.

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Pitching coach Keiichi Yabu's comments on John Bowker (YOM):

I actually invited [Bowker] to play for our team. <laughter>  He can probably hit 30 homers playing in Tokyo Dome.  He knows how to hit the slider.  He's a solid hitter.

Yabu knows Bowker from his days with the San Francisco Giants (2008).

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The Tigers held a staff meeting on Friday and decided that they will give younger players as many opportunities as possible during spring camp -- the team will be playing at least eight games, not including intra-squad, during Ichi-gun spring camp (three exhibition games and five practice games).  They will also probably go with about 42 players at Ichi-gun spring camp with plenty of shuffling to give as many players a look as possible.

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Batting coach Atsushi Kataoka told reporters on Friday that Nakatani was a strong candidate to attend Ichi-gun spring camp.  The Tigers like Nakatani's pop and consider him a future clean-up hitter.  They are also in the process of converting him to an outfielder (from catcher).

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Team president Nobuo Minami is planning to check out the newly built baseball stadium in Kin, Okinawa.  The stadium is located about 5km away from the Ichi-gun spring camp facilities and could become a future location for Ni-gun spring camp.

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The Tigers posted their preliminary practice game schedule on Friday.