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Hanshin Tigers: January 31, 2012

by on Jan.31, 2012 @ 11:52 pm, under NPB

The Ni-gun Tigers arrived at Kochi Ryoma Airport today and were greeted by local fans.  In the evening, they held a general meeting to go over practice schedules through to February 26.

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Yasutomo Kubo officially signed for 140M yen (down 40M yen) today.

Keiichi Hirano also agreed to a deal today: 190M yen (up 30M yen).  Hirano was originally offered 180M yen plus 20M yen in bonuses but turned it down because he wanted more guaranteed money.  The Tigers came back today with a 190M yen off with no bonuses.

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The Tigers announced on Monday that Yuya Ando missed practice because he was not feeling well and had a fever.  Ando first started feeling sick on Sunday morning and was excused from practices.  A hospital exam on Monday revealed that it was not the flu.  Ando is currently recuperating at the player hotel.

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Yutaka Wada and members of the coaching staff checked out the new Kin Baseball Stadium on Monday.  The Tigers have been given permission to use the stadium through to February 10.

The stadium still does not have any batting cages so the Tigers will probably use it as a place for younger players to run and taking extra fielding practice.

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Jason Standridge's goal for 2012: toss 200+ innings.  If he manages it, he will become the first foreign Tiger to reach the milestone since Matt Keough logged 201.0 innings in 1989.

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Randy Messenger told reporters he can not wait until the team faces the Yomiuri Giants.

"I can not wait until we play the Giants.  There is something great about the rivalry between the Giants and Tigers.  I want to face the new Giants.  They made improvements to the starting rotation and they added [Shuichi] Murata.  I can not wait," said Messenger.

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Standridge and Messenger had the day off today but spent some of it working out at Ginoza Stadium.  Workouts included playing long distance catch for about 25 minutes (they maxed out at about 60 meters).

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Batting coach Atsushi Kataoka does not want Matt Murton messing with his hitting mechanics this year -- his attempts last year did not go very well.  Kataoka plans to talk things over with Murton.

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Shinjiro Hiyama took fielding practice (37 baseballs) on Monday for the first time since he fractured his left collarbone in November.  He also played catch at a max distance of about 60 meters (total 54 throws); threw 28 pitches in the bullpen (12 to a standing catcher and 16 to a squatting catcher); and took 88 one-handed swings with his right hand during soft-toss BP.  Hiyama also took 10 swings with both hands -- he removed his left hand prior to making contact.

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Batting coach Atsushi Kataoka told reporters on Monday that Tomoaki Kanemoto will probably outdoor BP during the first block of spring camp, assuming his right shoulder is feeling fine.  If he does, it will be something he has not done since 2007.

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Takashi Toritani took a total 171 swings (including a session in the batting cages that lasted about 40 minutes) on Monday.  Toritani also gave players like Ken Nishimura and Hiroki Uemoto advice on how to strengthen trunk muscles.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito took 36 swings during BP on Monday.

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Kyuji Fujikawa asked the grounds crew on January 25 to change the hardness of the mound.  The grounds crew in turn provided three kinds of mounds (from soft to hard): all black dirt, mixture of black and red dirt (similar to Koshien), and mostly red dirt (used at most domed stadiums).

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Bullpen sessions:

Monday

Fujikawa threw 18 pitches to a standing catcher.  It was also his first bullpen session of the year and his first January session since 2009.  Naoto Tsuru, Kazuhito Futagami, Ryuji Wakatake, and Hirokazu Shiranita all stopped what they were doing to watch the session.

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Tomoyuki Kubota threw 182 pitches.  Kubota has thrown 493 pitches since January 27: 109, 86, 116, and now 182.