Takayuki Kishi felt some discomfort in his back today and will be scratched from his exhibition game start against the Yokohama Bay Stars at Yokohama on Sunday.
"[Kishi] injured his flank around this time last year and missed some time. We will not push him until the discomfort goes away," said Hisanobu Watanabe.
The chief trainer told reporters that Kishi is feeling discomfort in a different area than last year and that he will likely be ok after skipping one start.
Fumiya Nishiguchi (coming back from the flu) is scheduled to re-join the Ichi-gun roster on Monday. After that, he could start a game as early as March 14 (vs Hiroshima at Seibu Dome).
According to Sponichi, the Lions have three closer candidates: Enrique Gonzalez, Randy Williams, and Micheal Nakamura. Gonzalez is thought to be the front-runner because he actually closed out games last year at winter ball while the other two did not (although they do have experience).