Kodai Senga could get Friday's start against Lotte (at QVC). Senga made his Ichi-gun debut on April 30 against Lotte and did not get a decision (three earned runs over 3.2 innings of work).
According to Sports Hochi Osaka, Hiroki Kokubo is 6-for-36 with one RBI against Kei Igawa (ORI).
Nippon Ham Fighters
Yuki Saito may have a chance to make starts at both Koshien Stadium (vs Hanshin on May 17) and Jingu Stadium (vs Yakult on May 31). The last time he pitched at Koshien: November 23, 2009. The last time he pitched at Jingu: November 18, 2010.
Hisanobu Watanabe on Takeya Nakamura, via Sports Hochi: "It is difficult to move [Nakamura] because he is a clean-up hitter. We will leave him in there for a bit longer, but if this continues, we will have to consider [other options]."
Batting coach Osamu Abe told reporters, via Sponichi, that he felt Nakamura was having a hard time handling off-speed pitches on the outside portion of the plate because he was so busy focusing on the pitches thrown to the inside corners. His new bat may also be a problem.
Nakamura has just one homer in 112 trips to the plate so far this year. He does not have a homer in his last 102 trips to the plate. That the second longest homer drought of his career. The longest can in 2007: thirty-two games and 109 trips to the plate.
There is a chance Hideaki Wakui will end up being the team's closer the entire season, especially if no one else steps up.
Nikkan Sports reports that Darrell Rasner (left hip pain) will most likely require a month and a half to two months for a full recovery.
According to Sports Hochi, Masahiro Tanaka (lower back pain) is still no closer to returning to the active roster and the Eagles still have no timetable for when he might be able to return. Tanaka's progress: removed from active roster on April 22; started light workouts, including walking, on April 24; started playing catch on April 26; started running on April 28.
Sponichi figures he might not make it back until (or after) late June.
Said Tanaka, "No changes on my lower back. While I do want to get back [to Ichi-gun] as soon as possible, what is done is done and it makes no sense to rush myself."
Rehab currently consist of about thirty minutes of walking, warm-ups, playing catch, and getting treatment on his back.
The Eagles are preparing a number of commemorative items (t-shirts, photo frames, caps, patches) that will go on sale when Senichi Hoshino recorded his 1,000th managerial victory (currently on 997).
Chihiro Kaneko, today's starter, will take the mound for the first time since April 6.
Kei Igawa will likely get Wednesday's start against the Orix Buffaloes. If he does, it will be his first Ichi-gun start since October 16, 2006.
Incidentally, Sponichi notes that Igawa feels he needs a little more time until he is fully functional as a starter. Daily Sports quotes Igawa as saying, "People that remember how I was before might be disappointed. I am looking to be back 100% next year. I think this will be a difficult year for me. This year is about training and getting back to pitching form."