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Samurai Japan News and Notes: March 14, 2013 @ 5:00pm

by on Mar.14, 2013 @ 5:00 pm, under WBC

The team's first US workouts took place in Scottsdale, AZ on Wednesday and lasted about two and a half hours.

Samurai Japan is scheduled to play practice games against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on Thursday and the Chicago Cubs at HoHoKam Park on Friday.  Masahiro Tanaka is expected to start the game on Thursday and pitch an inning or two.  If he does poorly, Toshiya Sugiuchi could become the front-runner to start the Finals game (assuming Japan makes it).

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013, Sponichi 3/14/2013, Sponichi 3/14/2013

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The team's airplane arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday night at around 9:30pm.  A motorcycle police escort led three buses to the team hotel, located about an hour away from the airport.

Sanspo figures pitchers will need to overcome three major obstacles: the dry air, changes in temperature, and a lack of MLB experience.

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013, Sanspo 3/14/2013, Nikkan Sports 3/14/2013, Daily Sports 2/14/2013

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Hisayoshi Chono, Nobuhiro Matsuda, and Sho Nakata could end up competing for the seven and nine spots in the batting order.

Takashi Toritani and Hirokazu Ibata, will likely start things off at the top of the line-up.  Hayato Sakamoto and Atsunori Inaba will likely stay in the six and eight slots.

Source: Sponichi 3/14/2013, Sponichi 3/14/2013

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Ibata considered retiring after he struggled with a second bout of ocular herpes in 2010 that limited him to just fifty-three regular season games.

Source: Sponichi 3/14/2013

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Atsushi Nomi and Toshiya Sugiuchi could hold the keys, especially since other relief options, like Masahiko Morifuku, Takeru Imamura, and Tetsuya Yamaguchi, have struggled.  They also offer some flexibility: if necessary, they could be pushed to the maximum number of allowed pitches and provide a straight bridge from starter to closer, or even pitch straight until the end.

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013, Sports Hochi 3/14/2013

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If you go to a game, you might see the MaeKen Taiso (Maeda Kenta Warm-up).

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INF/base-running coach Nobuhiro Takashiro was not planning to wear his red victory underwear until the Championship Round.  The media learned the other day that he actually started wearing them on the 8th (the team's first game in the 2nd Round).  He also wore them on the 10th and 12th.  The red underwear are now 5-0 in five tournament games (including semifinals and finals from 2009).

Source: Sports Hochi 3/14/0213

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Nippon Hoso has exclusive live radio broadcast rights for the Championship Round.

Semifinals - broadcast begins at 10:00am on the 18th with Hiroki Nomura as a guest commentator.
Finals (if Japan makes it) - broadcast begins at 9:00am on the 20th with Takenori Emoto as a guest commentator.

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013

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Unlike previous WBC tournaments, the NPB has not received much of any complaints from fans this time around.

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013

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The team is staying at a four-star hotel in Phoenix.  The cheapest room costs about US$320 a night.

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013

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The H.I.S. WBC tour package sold well and cost between 194,000 and 269,000 yen.

RoundTrip's WBC tour package also sold well with their cheapest plan starting at 220,000 yen.

Source: Sanspo 3/14/2013, H.I.S. site, RoundTrip

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Games from March 13

  • Alex Maestri (ORI/ITA) vs PUR: 68-43 NP-S, 18 BF,  4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO.

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Final Italy Stats for Players that Play in Japan

Pitchers

Player JPN Tm W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HB BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Alex Maestri ORI 1 0 1.23 2 2 0 0 0 7.1 6 1 1 0 0 3 6 1.23 0 0
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