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[3/20/2015] Softbank Hawks, Orix Buffaloes, Nippon Ham Fighters, Chiba Lotte Marines, Seibu Lions, Rakuten Eagles

by on Mar.21, 2015 @ 4:07 am, under NPB

Softbank Hawks

  • Ni-gun game against Hiroshima on March 20: Nao Higashihama started the game and gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits over five innings of work. He faced twenty-two hitters, walked one, and struck out three. Shota Takeda pitched four innings in relief and gave up three runs (none earned) on four hits. He faced eighteen hitters, walked two, and struck out five. Source: Nikkan Sports 3/20/2015
  • Shota Takeda and Nao Higashihama are candidates to take over Daisuke Matsuzaka's spot in the opening day starting rotation. Takeda will pitch again at Ni-gun on March 25, Higashiham on March 26. Source: Nikkan Sports 3/20/2015, Sanspo 3/20/2015
  • Taisei Makihara (22) filed marriage papers with a twenty-five-year-old woman from Kagawa on March 16. Source: Nikkan Sports 3/20/2015

Orix Buffaloes

  • The Buffaloes are are not planning to force the opening day start on Chihiro Kaneko. Hiroshi Moriwaki and pitching coaches Ikuo Takayama and Nobuyuki Hoshino sat down with Kaneko for about thirty minutes on March 19 and talked about his progress and agreed not to push things too quickly. Orix wants the ace to take the mound when he is fully recovered, which might put his first start some time around mid-April. There is a chance he might be able to pitch during the Softbank series that begins on March 31. Brandon Dickson will most likely get the opening day start. Source: Sports Hochi 3/20/2015, Nikkan Sports 3/20/2015 ... Moriwaki told reporters on March 20 that Kaneko would not be pitching on March 27, opening day. Source: Chunichi Sports 3/20/2015, Daily Sports 3/20/2015

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Hideki Kuriyama was thinking about using Shohei Otani as a pitcher and hitter during the opening series (opening day start on March 27 then starting designated hitter on March 29), but is now reconsidering because of how things have played out over the last couple of weeks -- the pitcher struggled with his control during his last two outings and then recently missed a day with a fever. Pitching remains the top priority and Kuriyama might have Otani focus solely on that until things settle down. Source: Sports Hochi 3/20/2015, Nikkan Sports 3/20/2015, Daily Sports 3/20/2015, Sponichi 3/20/2015

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Alfredo Despaigne's team in Cuba, Granma, secured a spot in the playoffs. Depending on how well his team does, he might not be able to come to Japan until early April at the earliest, or mid-April at the latest. Source: Sponichi 3/20/2015

Seibu Lions

Rakuten Eagles

  • Ichi-gun teams are allowed to register twenty-eight players on the active roster. Hiromoto Okubo is thinking about setting an imaginary line at forty-two. The fourteen players that are not physically on the active roster will be treated slightly differently than the other players at Ni-gun. They will prepare as Ichi-gun players and will not always travel with the Ni-gun team on road trips. The players will also be exempt from Ni-gun group penalties. They will be expected to play at Ichi-gun at any time. Source: Sponichi 3/20/2015
  • Yoshinao Kamata (right elbow) started a Ni-gun game against Yokohama on March 20. He pitched in his first rehab game on March 6 (Kyoiku League game against Nippon Ham, relief, one inning, no hits, no runs) and followed that up with another appearance on March 12 (Kyoiku League game against Yakult, relief, two innings, two hits, two unearned runs, none earned). Source: Sports Hochi 3/20/2015
  • The Ni-gun Eagles are slated to play a number of practice games against the Fukushima Hope (BC League) this year: March 26 at kobo Stadium, May 20 and 21 at Azuma Stadium. Source: Nikkan Sports 3/20/2015