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Samurai Japan News and Notes: March 12, 2013 @ 4:23pm

by on Mar.12, 2013 @ 4:23 pm, under WBC

Atsushi Nomi could move to the bullpen for the Championship Rounds.

Source: Daily Sports 3/12/2013

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If Japan makes it to the Finals, there is a good chance Masahiro Tanaka will make an appearance in the game.

Kenta Maeda is slated to start the Semifinals game.

Source: Daily Sports 3/12/2013, Sponichi 3/12/2013

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Meada is currently not scheduled to pitch in any of the practice games in the US.

Nomi could be the pitcher that relieves Maeda in the Semifinals games.

Source: Sponichi 3/12/2013

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Tanaka is thinking about scrapping the slider during the WBC because he has had a hard time throwing it.  He plans to test new strategies based on how well he is able to grip the ball when the team shifts locations to the US.

Both Tanaka and Toshiya Sugiuchi are slated to pitch in a practice game against the San Francisco Giants (Scottsdale, AZ) on the 14th.

Source: Sponichi 3/12/2013

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Yoshio Itoi did not participate in workouts on Monday.  He may not be in the starting line-up tonight.  Itoi may be feeling the effects of an HBP he took off his right leg in the 7th inning of Sunday's game against the Netherlands.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013

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Takashi Toritani and Hirokazu Ibata will remain at the top of the line-up.

Source: Daily Sports 3/12/2013, Sanspo 3/12/2013, Sports Hochi 3/12/2013

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Koji Yamamoto wants to win tonight's game, but also plans to use players based on need -- players that are slumping will get a chance to start, players that are banged up will get a chance to rest, and players that have not had a lot of playing time will get to play.  That means players like Hisayoshi Chono, Katsuya KakunakaYuichi Honda, and Ginjiro Sumitani should make it into tonight's game (either as starters or as replacements).  Shinnosuke Abe will likely be the starting DH.

Source: Daily Sports 3/12/2013, Sponichi 3/12/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013

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Sho Nakata may pick his spots and temporarily go back to his high leg-kick approach to hitting tonight -- he is having some difficultly with the smaller leg kick and is not able to generate as much power.  Batting coach Kazuyoshi Tatsunami told Nakata he can try to the high leg-kick again, but only if he promises to let it go if it does not work out for him.

Source: Daily Sports 3/12/2013, Sponichi 3/12/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013, Sports Hochi 3/12/2013

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Ibata could have a chance to play some short tonight.

Source: Daily Sports 3/12/2013

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Everyone will more or less continue to have the green light to run during the Championship Round, unless otherwise told.

Source: Sponichi 3/12/2013

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Kyuji Fujikawa (CHN) and Hisanori Takahashi (CHN) are currently not scheduled to pitch in the practice game against Japan on the 15th.

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013

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Some of the Japanese MLB players are planning to meet up with members of Samurai Japan once they arrive in the US.

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013

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When Yamamoto signed on as manager of Samurai Japan, he asked for and agreed to a contract that ended in late March.  He requested a short contract because he wanted to focus on making it to the Championship Round.  The twelve NPB teams are happy with how things have gone so far and are planning to offer him an extension once the tournament ends.  The teams are hoping Yamamoto will help put together the team that competes at the Premium 12 tournament in 2015.

Source: Sponichi 3/12/2013

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Travel agencies like H.I.S. and RoundTrip started receiving calls about WBC tour packages on Monday morning.

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Netherlands

Sanspo notes that Wladimir Balentien will probably sit out tonight's game against Japan after tweaking his left hamstring while running the bases during Monday's game against Cuba.  Nikkan Sports mentions that the team will wait to make a decision until they see how he is feeling today.

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013

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The WBC attracted a tournament high 463,017 fans in the First Round.  The previous record of 453,374 was set in 2009.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013, WBC.com 3/11/2013