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Samurai Japan News and Notes: March 2, 2013 @ 4:00pm

by on Mar.02, 2013 @ 4:00 pm, under WBC

Masahiro Tanaka, tonight's starter against Brazil, threw fifty pitches in the bullpen on February 26 and fifty-five pitches in the bullpen on February 28.  He watched parts of the Brazil-Orix game on the 26th.

Source: Sanspo 3/2/2013

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Toshiya Sugiuchi is scheduled to relieve Tanaka in tonight's game against Brazil.  However, depending on how the game plays out, he could be shifted over to Game 3 against Cuba on the 6th.

Source: Sanspo 3/2/2013

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Assuming Tanaka, Sugiuchi, and Atsushi Nomi pitch tonight, the hope may be that Tanaka can make it through four innings in under sixty five pitches.  The remaining five innings could then be split between Sugiuchi and Nomi.  If they can keep their pitch counts under forty-nine, they will be able to pitch in Game 3.  This may be more for Nomi, as Sugiuchi is expected to become a starter in the Second Round and may need additional time to rest.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013, Sponichi 3/2/2013

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Tetsuya Utsumi and Kenta Maeda ran outside in the rain during workouts on Friday.

Utsumi will likely start Game 3, but could also be called on to pitch in Game 2 against China on the 3rd.

Source: Sanspo 3/2/2013

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Kenta Maeda tossed his bullpen session on Friday to Ryoji Aikawa.

Source: Daily Sports 3/2/2013

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Shinnosuke Abe took fifty-one swings during batting practice on Friday.

Source: Sanspo 3/2/2013

Nikkan Sports thinks Abe might be left out of the starting line-up tonight as a precaution.  The primary goal may be to make sure he is ready to play against Cuba on the 6th.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/2/2013

Sponichi also thinks there is a good chance Abe will start the game on the bench.

SP notes that Abe was not at the stadium for the game against Yomiuri on the 28th because he was getting treatment for his knee at the team hotel.  They also mention him getting a shot.

DH could be an option, but only if his knee is good enough for him to run.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013

Abe ordered an Electro-Acuscope and a Electro-Myopulse to help with his treatment.

Source: Sports Hochi 3/2/2013

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If Abe does not make the starting line-up, then Yoshio Itoi will replace him as the clean-up hitter.

Itoi asked Koji Yamamoto to toss baseballs to him during soft-toss batting practice on Friday.  He also spent some time checking his swing with batting coach Kazuyoshi Tatsunami.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013, Sports Hochi 3/2/2013

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Both Hisayoshi Chono (tightness in lower back on the 28th) and Sho Nakata (fouled ball off left knee on the 28th) appeared to be fine during workouts on Friday.

Kazuo Matsui (tightness lower back) could start tonight's game on the bench.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013, Daily Sports 3/2/2013

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The top three hitters in the line-up will likely be Hayato Sakamoto, Katsuya Kakunaka, and Seiichi Uchikawa.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013, Sponichi 3/2/2013, Sponichi 3/2/2013

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Takashi Toritani will likely get the start at second base tonight.

Source: Daily Sports 3/2/2013

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The TV rating for the Samurai Japan-Yomiuri Giants game on February 28 on TBS (7:52pm - 10:35pm) was 12.3% (Kanto region).

Source: Sanspo 3/2/2013

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WBC Brazil

Felipe Natel visited the team during workouts at Fukuoka Kogyo University on Friday.  Natel is a twenty-three-year-old pitcher that plays for Yamaha (Industial League).  He was a candidate for the roster until he hurt his elbow.  He traveled to Fukuoka from Shizuoka on Friday because he wanted to see how the team were doing and because he wanted to hand out some unagi pies (kind of like cookies).

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/2/2013, Daily Sports 3/2/2013

Brazil had the training facilities at Fukuoka Kogyo University for two hours on Friday.  About a third of that time (roughly forty minutes) was used for a team meeting.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013

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Sponichi has written short introductions for key players from each of the three Pool A opponents: Paulo Orlando (Brazil), Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba), and Wei Wang (China).

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A four-country manager meeting was held at a hotel in Fukuoka on Friday to go over the WBC rules.  Samurai Japan confirmed that pitchers will be able to throw more than eight pitches in between innings if there is extra time available, especially since commercial breaks are scheduled to last two minutes and fifty seconds.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013