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Samurai Japan News and Notes: March 5, 2013 @ 4:04pm

by on Mar.05, 2013 @ 4:04 pm, under WBC

Pitching coach Tsuyoshi Yoda told reporters on Monday that there was a chance they could use Atsushi Nomi as a starter.  Nomi rested at the hotel on the team's day off on Monday.

Source: Sanspo 3/5/2013

Yoda also hinted that Masahiro Tanaka could be shifted to the bullpen in the 2nd round.

That means the starters for the 2nd round could end up being (in no particular order) Nomi, Maeda, Toshiya Sugiuchi, and Tetsuya Utsumi.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/5/2013

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Nomi could be called on to pitch the first game of the 2nd Round.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/5/2013

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Kenta Maeda could start Game 2 of the 2nd Round.

Game 2 of the 2nd Round could take place on either the 9th or 10th, depending on how the first game plays out.

Source: Sponichi 3/5/2013

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Utsumi worked out on his own for about an hour on the team's day off on Monday.

"I am but a pawn for the team.  I will do anything to help the team win.  Just as Ieyasu Tokugawa was Nagamasa Kuroda's general, [Koji] Yamamoto is mine.  I will do my absolute best to help make the manager the number one man in the world," said Utsumi.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/5/2013

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Kenji Otonari developed a blister on the inner part of his middle finger during his outing against Yomiuri on February 28.  That blister has apparently made it easier for him to throw the slider.

Source: Sorts Hochi 3/5/2013

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Otonari, Takeru Imamura, and Masahiko Morifuku -- pitchers that did not pitch in the first two games -- should see action in Game 3.  Pitchers that are struggling, like Tanaka, should also get a chance to pitch.

The same goes for the offense.  Players that are struggling, like Hisayoshi Chono and Atsunori Inaba, will play in Game 3, while players that need rest, like Shinnosuke Abe (right knee) and Kazuo Matsui (lower back), will probably be used sparingly.

Source: Sanspo 3/5/2013

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Batting coach Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Atsunori Inaba, and Kazuo Matsui went out for lunch on the team's day off on Monday.

Tatsunami feels Hisayoshi Chono is a key player that needs to step up in the 2nd Round.

"We cannot afford to wait around [for players to come around] in the next round.  We will use players that are hot, but there are no replacements for Chono.  I think he will be ok.  It starts now," said Tatsunami.

Source: Sanspo 3/5/2013

Yamamoto told reporters that he liked the way the line-up was set against China and will probably keep things as is, save for the two hole.  He also said that he could not drop Chono further down in the order.

Source: Sponichi 3/5/2013, Daily Sports 3/5/2013

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Samurai Japan could rent out an entire bar so that the team, including staff, can watch the final Pool B game (Taiwan-Korea) today.

Source: Sanspo 3/5/2013, Sports Hochi 3/5/2013, Sponichi 3/5/2013, Daily Sports 3/5/2013

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Cuba could decide to take it easy in Game 3 depending on the final Pool B standings.  Victor Mesa told the media on Monday that finishing in first or second for the 1st Round was not important and that they planned to select their starter against Japan today.  Bottom line for Cuba is getting to San Francisco.

Source: Sanspo 3/5/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/5/2013