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Samurai Japan News and Notes: March 3, 2013 @ 2:06am

by on Mar.03, 2013 @ 2:07 am, under WBC

Game Two Starters: Kenta Maeda (Japan) vs Xia Luo (China).

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Koji Yamamoto made the following speech in front of the players before the game:

Good morning.  It begins today.  This is something I have been constantly saying since we started working together, but I just want everyone to be themselves, to play the game as they normally would.  Let us pull our feelings together as one and do this together.  There are many people helping us, from the cheering Japanese fans to the support staff at NPB.  Carry that on your backs and let it all out on the field.  Let us go to America!

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/2/2013

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Masahiro Tanaka: "I have nothing to say.  I am in no position to say anything.  They cannot use me in a short tournament if I pitch like that."

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/2/2013

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During his post-game hero interview, Shinnosuke Abe told fans that his right knee felt great.

Source: Sponichi 3/2/2013

Nikkan Sports has posted the interview:

You drove in the game-winning run as a pinch-hitter in the 8th.

It is my fault that I ended up getting into the game like that.  The manger was able to use me.  Everyone helped me hit that.

You did not make the starting line-up.

I just feel really bad about that.  I really wanted to be in there from the start...  But I was still able to make it into the game.  I am grateful to everyone.

How did you approach you at bat in the 8th?

I told myself to swing at anything that looked hittable.  First games are really tough.  Everyone is really tight/nervous.  The many pro yakyu fans out there helped us.

You suited up after the at bat.  How is your injury?

I feel great.  We won today because of all the cheering.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/2/2013

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Bobby Valentine was at YafuOku Dome on Saturday as a a rep for Brand USA.

I think Japan will in it.

I do not know [if the US] will make it to the Championship Round.  The Domincan Republic and Venezuela, they have some good players.

I think the fans and sponsors would love to see Japan face the US in the Finals.

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