- They wanted to test Sho Nakata (HAM) as their clean-up hitter for the Cuba series, but had to drop the idea after he was diagnosed with a fracture in his left hand. His injury may have come as a blow because he may have been their second option behind Takeya Nakamura (SEI). Nakamura will miss the Cuba series and will most likely miss the WBC because of his left knee. Takahiro Okada (ORI) might be a candidate to replace Nakata for the Cuba series.
- They created a list of fifty candidates for the WBC but since they have yet to receive any updates on the six Japanese MLB players they sent invites to, especially Ichiro Suzuki and Norichika Aoki, they're having a difficult time narrowing down their options.
- The six Japanese MLB players, according to Sanspo: Ichiro, Aoki, Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda, Koji Uehara, Hisashi Iwakuma. The six Japanese MLB players, according to Sports Hochi, Daily Sports, and Sponichi: Ichiro, Aoki, Darvish, Kuroda, Iwakuma, and Munenori Kawasaki. Sponichi mentions Uehara as a possible "reserve."
- There is a good chance Darvish will not participate, according a report by Sports Hochi. Seems the Texas Rangers have asked Darvish to forget the WBC and focus on preparing for the 2013 season. An announcement is expected soon.
- Possible candidates to replace Ichiro as a lead-off hitter: Yoshio Itoi (HAM), Hisayoshi Chono (YOM), Yohei Oshima (CHU), Ryo Hijirisawa (RAK), Katsuya Kakunaka (LOT). Chono may be the front-runner, according to Sports Hochi.
- Hideki Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka are reportedly in the list of fifty candidates, according to Nikkan Sports. They may be considered "reserves." Sports Hochi and Sponichi note that Matsui was skipped over because of the amount of time he missed this past season. FYI: Matsui is currently working out in New York and has still not decided what he wants to do next season.
- Shinnosuke Abe (YOM) was named the position of team captain for Samurai Japan. He is also slated to attend the Cuba series, not necessarily to play, since he still might be hurt. It is more about him getting a feel for things.
- Naoki Miyanishi (HAM) could be a candidate to make the bullpen as a lefty reliever.
- Hiroyuki Nakajima (SEI) was named to the Cuba series roster because of his left flank injury.
- They may go with thirteen pitchers and three catchers for the WBC roster.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/6/2012, Nikkan Sports 11/6/2012, Nikkan Sports 11/6/2012, Sanspo 11/6/2012, Sports Hochi 11/6/2012, Sports Hochi 11/6/2012, Sports Hochi 11/6/2012, Daily Sports 11/6/2012, Daily Sports 11/6/2012, Daily Sports 11/6/2012, Sponichi 11/6/2012, Sponichi 11/6/2012, Sponichi 11/6/2012
Nikkan Sports has posted their ideal WBC line-up:
RF Ichiro Suzuki - free agent and may not be able to play
LF Norichika Aoki - Milwaukee manager does not seem happy about WBC
3B Hiroyuki Nakajima - wants to go to majors and may not be able to play
1B Takeya Nakamura - left knee surgery, good chance he will not be able to play
C Shinnosuke Abe - currently hurt, but still playing
DH Sho Nakata - fracture in left hand, three weeks for recovery
SS Hayato Sakamoto - good chance to make roster
CF Yoshio Itoi - good chance to make roster
2B Kensuke Tanaka - wants to go to majors and may not be able to play
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/6/2012
UPDATE @ 11/7 @ 12:34am -
Sanspo has posted parts of Yamamoto's Q&A during Tuesday's press conference:
There are a lot of young players.
I remember how playing hard during an international game helped build my confidence. Playing in a game with a different kind of excitement can be good. If they do well, they also become candidates for the WBC.
The injured [Shinnosuke] Abe is on the roster [for the Cuba Series].
He is not 100%, but he will be in the dugout, in preparation for the WBC. I would like him to take things in in his own way.
Your thoughts on Cuba.
They have power and they will swing the bat hard. They have a lot of physical ability. I do have an impression of them having difficulty against left-handed pitchers. They have a lot of new players, so they might be moving to a new generation of players.
What about [Samurai Japan's] batting order?
Still not sure. I want to watch workouts. I would like to set them the day before [the games].
Your plan of attack?
I want to go for the win while testing some things out. The games should be played hard and then we will go over the results and break them down. We should also be able to learn some things about Cuba as well. We could run depending on situations.
Source: Sanspo 11/6/2012