Sponichi wonders if Takuya Asao might be getting a little tired. Asao appeared in seventy-two games in 2010; seventy-nine games in 2011; and has already appeared in eleven of the team's twenty games this year.
Masahiro Yamamoto and about 600 other people attended Takumi Yamamoto's wake on Monday. The game ball from April 22 was also on display next to the elder's photo.
"I thanked him. ... What happens from here on out is important. I want to do my best so that I can continue to give him good news," said Yamamoto.
Funeral services will take place on April 24. Yamamoto is expected to rejoin the team on April 25.
Yuki Shichijo will likely get his first regular season start of the year on May 3 (vs Yokohama at Yokohama). A lot will depend on how he pitches during his Ni-gun outing on Wednesday.
The Swallows will likely start Shohei Tateyama, Masanori Ishikawa, and Kyohei Muranaka against the Chunichi Dragons (May 24-26).
According to Sponichi: the starting rotation currently consists of Tetsuya Utsumi, Toshiya Sugiuchi, Hirokazu Sawamura, Ryosuke Miyaguni, and Dennis Houlton. The Giants will have to select a sixth starter for a nine game stretch that begins on April 28. Possible candidates include Scott Mathieson, Satoshi Fukuda, and Shoki Kasahara.
Yoshinobu Takahashi used a metal bat during batting practice on Monday because he wanted to swing the bat lot (metal bats place less strain on the body).
Yoshitomo Tani (right leg) started taking batting practice on Monday. He is hoping to return to the starting line-up on either April 24 or 25 (vs Yokohama).
According to Daily Sports, the media was shutout from workouts at Giants Stadium on Monday for about three hours.
The Tigers will likely start Atushi Nomi, Minoru Iwata, and Randy Messenger when they face the Yomiuri Giants for three games beginning on April 28. After that, it will likely be Yasutomo Kubo, Jason Standridge, and Yuya Ando against the Chunichi Dragons (May 1-3).
If Messenger can toss another shutout, he will become the first foreign Hanshin pitcher to record back-to-back shutouts since Gene Bacque in 1968 (July 9, July 14).
Yusuke Nomura will likely be nominated to appear on the All-Star ballot.
Yokohama Bay Stars
Yuki Kuniyoshi is slated to start Wednesday's game against the Yomiuri Giants.
The Bay Stars plan to start Daisuke Miura on six days of rest from here on out. Up until now, they had been taking him off the active roster after each start to give him extra time off. But beginning with his start on April 28 (vs Chunichi at Nagoya Dome), they will move to pitching him on six days of rest.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (left ankle) could return to the active roster as early as May 1 (vs Yakult at Yokohama).