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Hanshin Tigers: March 1, 2012

by on Mar.01, 2012 @ 11:57 pm, under NPB

The Tigers had the day off today.

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Akihito Fujii was examined at an Osaka hospital on Wednesday and diagnosed with a left oblique strain.  No word on how long it was take for a full recovery, but the team is apparently preparing for the worst, which would be beginning the season without him.

Shinji Komiyama, Takashi Shimizu, and Taichi Okazaki are expected to pick up the slack.

FYI: Sponichi notes that it could take Fujii anywhere from three weeks to a month and a half for a full recovery.

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Pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi told reporters on Wednesday that the competition for the last spot in the starting rotation will take place over a four game period between March 3 and March 7.  Yuya Ando, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Naoto Tsuru, and Tatsuya Kojima are each expected to pitch.

The first five pitchers will likely be: Atsushi Nomi, Minoru Iwata, Randy Messenger, Jason Standridge, and Yasutomo Kubo.

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Nomi threw about 1,600 pitches during spring camp.  That is a team high.

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Takumi Akiyama stopped his bullpen session short on Wednesday due to tightness in his leg(s).  While it does not appear to be serious, the team will observe Akiyama over the next few days to see if they need to make adjust their pitching plans moving forward.

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The media learned on Wednesday that Masahiro Nakatani will be sent down to Ni-gun on Friday.  Over seven games in February, Nakatani went 3-for-22 with no homers and no RBI.  The Tigers decided to send him down to Ni-gun to give him more chances to play and because the Ni-gun team will need another catcher since Fujii will likely miss some time.

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Atsushi Nomi will not travel with the team to Fukuoka and will instead prepare for an exhibition game start against Seibu at Koshien on March 9.  From there he will get two more exhibition game starts (March 16 vs Lotte at QVC and March 23 vs Orix at Kyocera Dome) before the opening day start on March 30 (vs Yokohama at Kyocera Dome).  This schedule will allow Nomi to pitch on six days of rest.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto will likely begin playing on a regular basis beginning on March 6 (exhibition game vs Softbank at Yahoo Dome).  Assuming no problems, he could also play some left during a five game exhibition game stretch at Koshien that begins on March 9.

On Wednesday, after batting practice, Kanemoto played some catch out in left at a distance of about sixty meters.  He remained in left during live batting practice and finished things off with some running.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito swung the bat 210 times on Wednesday.

Ito's workouts at Naruohama today lasted about two hours (from 9am to 11am) and included weight training and batting practice.

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The Tigers saw a drop in attendance during spring camp this year: they drew 58,300 while holding spring camp in one location (Ginoza, Okinawa) compared to 68,400 last year when they held spring camp in two locations (Ginoza, Okinawa and Aki, Kochi).

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Some batting stats through Wednesday: