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[1/6/2014] Shunsuke Watanabe, Ichiro Suzuki, Nyjer Morgan, Hideki Matsui

by on Jan.06, 2014 @ 3:22 pm, under MLB

Shunsuke Watanabe worked out in Yokohama on Sunday.  He played catch using an MLB baseball and checked on his breaking pitches.  He told reporters that he is making changing to the spikes on his cleats (shorter and made of softer materials) to accommodate for the harder mounds in the Majors.

Source: Sponichi 1/6/2014

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The latest on Ichiro Suzuki, from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

Don't be surprised if the Diamondbacks trade right-hander J.J. Putz following their addition of former White Sox closer Addison Reed. Putz is signed for $7 million in 2014, and the D-backs most likely would be required to accept a comparable salary in return.

Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, earning $6.5 million, could be one possibility, though it is not known whether Yankees ownership would part with Suzuki or how he would adjust to a backup role.

Source: Fox Sports 1/5/2014 via Sponichi 1/6/2014

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Former Yokohama Bay Star Nyjer Morgan is attracting some interest from MLB teams.  From ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:

... Jonathan Maurer, one of Morgan's new agents, said he's had a dialogue with 6-8 clubs that have expressed interest in signing the outfielder.

"Japan was a great experience for Nyjer and he would still enjoy playing there, but he's had a great deal of success in the States and would love to come back here as well,'' Maurer said. "We've had interest from teams who see him as a guy who could come in and spell a starter or possibly earn more playing time.''

Source: ESPN 1/4/2014 via Nikkan Sports 1/6/2014, Sponichi 1/6/2014

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Hideki Matsui replaces Alex Rodriguez in "Henry & Me" (animated film).  From the New York Daily News:

... Former Yankee and 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui spent the week of New Year’s pinch-hitting on the silver screen for his ex-teammate, Alex Rodriguez, after A-Rod got left on the cutting room floor. We can only imagine Raul Ibanez had a prior committment [sic].

Flash back to Aug. 5, when Rodriguez was slapped with a 211-game ban in connection with the Biogenesis doping scandal. Rodriguez had already contributed to the animated film, “Henry & Me,” providing the voice for the animated version of himself. But the film’s producers, worried about the negative publicity surrounding Rodriguez, soon began to develop a plan B — which is where Matsui comes in.

Source: New York Daily News 1/4/2014 via Nikkan Sports 1/6/2014