Yoshiaki Fujioka took part in a baseball clinic this morning in Koga, Fukuoka before working out for about three and a half hours at the Saitozaki training facilities. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012
Nobuhiro Matsuda recorded seven post-game hero interviews this past season. He would like to make it ten next year. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012
Matsuda's goals for 2013: he wants to play in every inning of every game; if he bats first, he wants to lead the league in hits; if he bats fifth, he wants to win an RBI title. Matsuda is also back to benching 100 kilograms -- he was down to around seventy kilograms at the end of the season because he was out two months with a fracture in his right hand. Source: Sports Hochi 12/16/2012
Seiichi Uchikawa's four-day private mini-camp in Buzen, Fukuoka ended on Saturday. His training menu was so hard (a lot of running) he apparently threw up about twice. He will be leaving for a trip to Hawaii on the 17th (vacation and training). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012, Sanspo 12/16/2012
Nippon Ham Fighters
The Fighters returned from their PL championship trip to Hawaii today. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012
Atsunori Inaba will be 1st round draft pick Shohei Otani's hitting advisor. Inaba will most likely have a chance to meet Otani for the first time on January 11 -- a staff meeting is scheduled on the same day the 2012 draft class begins their training camp. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012, Sanspo 12/16/2012, Sports Hochi 12/16/2012
Otani visited his old little league team, the Mizusawa Little League, on Saturday. Source: Sanspo 12/16/2012
Shogo Akiyama appeared at a Christmas event on Saturday and told fans the thing he wanted most was more time to practice. Source: Sponichi 12/16/2012
"I am not thinking about [using] a no step approach. I will make changes. I will [improve] my timing by moving my leg up and down. It is not enough as is. I want to focus on power," said Okada.
He added, "It takes courage to change your hitting mechanics. It also takes time. I want to work out the basics before the start of spring camp. I will only lift my leg a little, but to me, that is a big change."
The change in his approach to hitting is in addition to the new bat he will be using -- overall, it will be thinner than the bat he has been using, but with a slightly thicker handle.
Source: Sponichi 12/16/2012
Mamoru Kishida has an interest in playing in the Majors, but not necessarily right away. He said to reporters on Saturday, "If I can play a little at the end of my career, that would be nice."
Kishida is slated to earn his domestic FA option 2015. With regards to that, he said, "I am not even thinking about [exercising it]. I have no intention of leaving Orix."
If Kishida is going to start next season, he plans to begin his workouts in early January.
"If I am going to start games, I would like to begin throwing in early January. I only threw fastballs and change-ups [as a closer]. If I start, I can also throw my curve and fork," said Kishida.
Source: Sanspo 12/16/2012
Daily Sports offers a few more quotes: "I want to start my throwing practices early. ... I have not thrown a lot of pitches or innings the last two to three years. ... I threw only fastballs and changes [when I pitched in relief]. I would like to throw my curve and shuto." Source: Daily Spotts 12/16/2012
Shinichiro Koyama has an interest in playing in the Majors. He is set to earn his international FA option next season.
Said Koyama, "I would like to finish my career off [in the States], even if it means pitching in the minors."
Source: Sponichi 12/16/2012
Yoshinao Kamata got a 233% raise (from 14 million to 20 million yen). For Rakuten players after their first year, that is second only to Masahiro Tanaka's 300% (from 15 million to 60 million yen). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012, Sports Hochi 12/16/2012
Chiba Lotte Marines
Naoya Masuda, Yasuhiko Yabuta, Carlos Rosa, Dicky Gonzalez, and 1st round draft pick Takahiro Matsunaga are apparently candidates to close next season. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2012, Sanspo 12/16/2012
Tsutomu Ito on seeing Gonzalez as a possible closer, via Sports Hochi: "[Gonzalez] has put up results as a starter, but I would like to use him later in the game. He is a pitcher that can throw strikes and I feel his velocity will increase if he is used at the end. ... It was mentioned during contract negotiations, so he should already know about this." Source: Sports Hochi 12/16/2012
Slightly different quote from Daily Sports: "Part of me would like to use [Gonzalez] as a closer or setup man. [I would like to make the decision] after speaking to him and watching him pitch. ... He has good enough control to throw strikes and I think it would be interesting to use him in relief. The question is whether he can pitch on consecutive days." Source: Daily Sports 12/16/2012
Ito plans to test possible candidates out during spring camp before deciding on one closer for the regular season.
"We will begin testing [candidates] during spring camp intra-squad games. I want to have one closer when the season begins. I am prepared to sit through mistakes and will not give up [on a closer] right away," said Ito.
Source: Sponichi 12/16/2012
Tadahito Iguchi invited Makoto Imaoka to play in a game at Jingu Stadium on Saturday. Iguchi played second and went 1-for-2 (single to left); Imaoka played short and went 0-for-2. Source: Sanspo 12/16/2012