Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed his second bullpen session on February 3 (February 4 in Japan) -- twenty pitches to a catcher that squatted in front of the home plate.
"While I threw at about 70% last time, this time I tried to throw as hard as I could. I am glad that I was able to throw at close to 90%," said Matsuzaka. "A part of me is still holding back. I want to continue examining my mechanics moving forward."
Tsuyoshi Wada left for Hawaii out of Haneda Airport on Sunday. Wada plans to spend a week working out in Hawaii before heading to Baltimore to find a place to live. He will then head down to Sarasota, Florida sometime around February 15 to prepare for the start of Spring Training.
Wada is currently at about 60-70% and is hoping to toss a bullpen session during his workouts in Hawaii (he has not yet tossed a session this year).
Hiroki Sanada left for the US out of Narita Airport on Saturday. He is scheduled to meet up with Hisanori Takahashi in Los Angeles and will attend tryouts over a three day period beginning on February 10. Sanada has tossed four bullpen sessions in Japan, since his return from Hawaii on January 26.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Wei-Ying Chen, and Norichika Aoki made it into USA Today's Countdown of the 100 Names You Need to Know: Nos. 41-60. A snip:
50. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners, 30: He couldn't reach a contract last year after Oakland won posting rights and this year he arrives as a free agent. In the meantime, he dealt with some shoulder issues that reduced his fastball to the 90 mph range. But he uses the fastball to make an exceptional forkball more effective. He should be a solid ground-ball pitcher in a ballpark that will be forgiving if and when major league hitters zone in on the fastball.
53. OF Norichika Aoki, Brewers, 30: Signing a two-year contract all but ensures the three-time batting champion in Japan is at least Milwaukee's fourth outfielder. And he would get a quick and extended opportunity to increase his role if Ryan Braun is suspended at the start of the season. Aoki is a strong defender and had an on-base percentage over .400 four of the past five seasons. He's a line-drive hitter but less of a slashing swinger than Ichiro Suzuki.
55. LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles, 26: He's younger and throws harder (92-94 mph) than most pitchers coming out of the Japanese leagues. Plus, he has a sharp slider that should be effective. After Jeremy Guthrie, the Baltimore rotation is wide open. Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada should have an edge over the Orioles' collection of promising young pitchers, most of whom struggled last year.
The Texas Rangers' tweeted that Yu Darvish merchandise is now available: