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[12/22/2014] Yomiuri Giants unveil 2015 home and road uniforms

by on Dec.22, 2014 @ 9:31 pm, under NPB
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The Yomiuri Giants announced today that they reached a five-year partnership agreement with Under Armour. The deal will run from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2019.

The Giants also unveiled their 2015 home and road uniforms. Tatsunori Hara, Yuki Koyama, Daisuke Fujimura, and Seiji Kobayashi modeled the uniforms for the press.Yomiuri Giants 2014 Uniforms===

Source: official announcement (image taken from official site)

[12/21/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Takahiro Okada

by on Dec.22, 2014 @ 3:49 am, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers likely made Chihiro Kaneko (31) an offer of up to four years at two billion yen. Posting and releasing are both possibilities. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014 ... The media learned on Saturday that the Tigers were able to make their offer on Friday. They may have submitted mutiple deals with one at up to four years. They may be willing to post or release him after two years of service time. They also requested a direct meeting with Kaneko. Source: Sports Hochi 12/21/2014

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According to Sanspo, Seung-Hwan Oh's contract in 2015 will be worth an estimated 300 million yen. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014

If Orix's Takahiro Okada (26) cannot get a larger guaranteed raise (last offer was a twenty-three million yen increase), he could settle for incentives that would put him closer to his desired salary. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014

[12/21/2014] Hanshin Tigers, Yokohama Bay Stars, Yakult Swallows

by on Dec.22, 2014 @ 3:44 am, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers

  • Shintaro Fujinami will most likely get a start during the opening season series (vs Chunichi at Kyocera Dome, March 27-29). That should line him up for two starts against the Yomiuri Giants in the following month (April 2-5, April 17-19). The first three pitchers in the rotation could be Randy Messenger, Atsushi Nomi, and Fujinami. Pitching coach Kiyooki Nakanishi thinks it would be best to split Messenger and Fujinami, so the order could be Messenger, Nomi, and Fujinami, or Fujinami, Nomi, and Messenger. Plans will be finalized during spring camp. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014 ... The second pitcher could also be Minoru Iwata. Source: Sponichi 12/21/2014
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka could resume throwing practices (playing catch, throwing into a net) on Tuesday. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • Daisuke Miura has recorded at least one hit in every season since 1993. Motonobu Tanishige holds the NPB record with at least one hit in twenty-six consecutive seasons (1989-2014). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • Tetsuto Yamada had a tonsillectomy on the 14th and was discharged from the hospital on the 19th. He will return to Osaka later this month and resume regular practices in January. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014

[12/21/2014] Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines, Softbank Hawks, Orix Buffaloes, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Dec.22, 2014 @ 3:39 am, under NPB
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Seibu Lions

  • Takeya Nakamura (right elbow) took some batting practice on Saturday for the first time in two months. He hit thirty baseballs off a tee. Source: Sports Hochi 12/21/2014
  • Seibu is planning to replace the turf at Seibu Prince Dome next winter. It was last changed in 2008. Source: Sponichi 12/21/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • The Marines are thinking about registering Kuan-Yu Chen as Chen (not the kanji, but the katakana). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • The Hawks will have at least eight pitchers fighting for spots in the starting rotation: Jason Standridge, Kenichi Nakata, Tadashi Settsu, Kenji Otonari, Shota Takeda, Kazuyuki Hoashi, Brian Wolfe, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014
  • Kimiyasu Kudo is planning to let Matsuzaka handle his own schedule. He is also more than happy to provide advice if needed. Source: Sponichi 12/21/2014 ... Kudo does not think it is necessary for pitchers, especially veterans, to push themselves to the point where they are ready to toss bullpen sessions on the first day of spring camp. Source: Daily Sports 12/21/2014, Sanspo 12/21/2014

Orix Buffaloes

  • Chihiro Kaneko received his Mercedes C180 during Sunday's 2014 Yanase Orix Buffaloes MVP Award ceremony. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014, Daily Sports 12/21/2014
  • Eiichi Koyano will most likely be at first or third. Second is also a possibility. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014
  • The media learned that Shuichi Furukawa (27) had filed marriage papers with a twenty-seven-year-old woman in December 2012. His wife gave birth to their first child, a boy, in September last year. Source: Sponichi 12/21/2014

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Where Kensuke Tanaka plays could depend on Brandon Laird and Jeremy Hermida. First and third are possibilities. Source: Sponichi 12/21/2014
  • Hideki Kuriyama is curious to see how well Shohei Otani can handle making appearances as a pitcher and position player without any days of rest in between. He might test Otani during spring camp. Source: Sports Hochi 12/21/2014, Sponichi 12/21/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014 ... Otani loves sweets and cannot imagine cutting them out of his diet entirely (especially things like chocolate and ice cream). He has switched over to Japanese sweets during the winter, but made an exception to Christmas cake. Source: Sports Hochi 12/21/2014, Sponichi 12/21/2014
  • Sho Nakata revealed his interest in playing in the Majors during a recording for a Fuji TV program on Saturday. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014 ... The Mariners spoke to Nakata just before the 2007 draft, but were turned down. It was not until the World Baseball Classic last year that the slugger became interested in the Majors. Nakata has not yet informed Fighters. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014

[12/20/2014] General NPB News and Notes

by on Dec.21, 2014 @ 3:34 am, under NPB

The designated hitter rule will go back to being used at Pacific League stadiums for at least two years, beginning next season. The rule was reversed this year as part of Inter-league's tenth anniversary.

Source: Daily Sports 12/15/2014

Hanshin Tigers' senior executive managing director Keiichiro Yotsufuji will take over as new chairman of the Central League next year. Hanshin Tigers' owner Shinya Sakai will take over as the owner's chairman.

Source: Sanspo 12/15/2014

Sixty-one people between the ages seventeen and sixty-one, including one woman, are taking part in the NPB's second Umpire School in Saitama. The top students will have a chance to become NPB umpires.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2014, Sponichi 12/18/2014

[12/20/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Seung-Hwan Oh

by on Dec.21, 2014 @ 2:48 am, under NPB
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According to Nikkan Sports, the Hanshin Tigers may have originally been planning to offer Chihiro Kaneko (31) up to three years in the 1.5 billion yen range, but may have decided to go up to four years in the two billion yen range after considering what other teams might be offering. This could end up being Hanshin's "final" offer. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/20/2014 ... Kaneko wants to win and will factor that into his decision. Source: Chunichi Sports 12/20/2014, Daily Sports 12/20/2014 ... The Tigers tried to contact Kaneko's agent on Friday to submit an offer, but could not get through to him. They are hoping to get permission to speak directly to the pitcher after submitting their offer. Source: Daily Sports 12/20/2014 ... The Tigers might be okay with releasing Kaneko after at least two years of service time (they are not thinking about using the posting system). Source: Sanspo 12/20/2014

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The Chiba Lotte Marines could be players if Seung-Hwan Oh (32) is open to staying in Japan after his two-year deal with Hanshin ends. Source: ZakZak 12/20/2014 ... Oh met the Hanshin Tigers for salary negotiations on Saturday and finalized an agreement for the 2015 season. The closer will be in the final year of a two-year deal. Oh signed a two-year deal worth a total 850 million yen before the 2014 season. Source: Asahi Shimbun 12/20/2014

[12/20/2014] Yomiuri Giants, Hanshin Tigers, Chunichi Dragons, Yakult Swallows

by on Dec.21, 2014 @ 2:11 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

  • Hayato Sakamoto agreed to a raise of forty million yen and will make an estimated 220 million next season. He joined Hideki Matsui as the only Yomiuri position player lifers out of high school in franchise history to top 200 million yen. Source: Sponichi 12/20/2014, Sanspo 12/20/2014

Hanshin Tigers

  • Randy Bass is open to the idea of being a special instructor during spring camp. Source: Sponichi 12/20/2014

Chunichi Dragons

  • Masato Kobayashi (34) retired after the season and will join the media relations staff. Source: Sponichi 12/20/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • The turf at Jingu Stadium will be replaced during the off-season for the first time since 2008 (Hibrid Turf Exciting will be installed). Construction will be complete in January. The new turf will be unveiled to the general public during an exhibition game against Lotte on March 20. Source: official announcement, Sanspo 12/20/2014
  • The alternate Tokyo uniforms will most likely be used during home game against the Yomiuri Giants in April and August. The Giants could also wear their alternate Tokyo uniforms. Source: Sports Hochi 12/20/2014

[12/20/2014] Seibu Lions, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Dec.21, 2014 @ 2:08 am, under NPB
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Seibu Lions

  • The Lions have finished adding players from the foreign market for the time being. They will have six foreign players under contract in 2015: Ernesto Mejia (29), Miguel Mejia (26), Esmerling Vasquez (31), Chun-Lin Kuo (22), Wade LeBlanc (30), and Anthony Seratelli (31). Source: Sponichi 12/20/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/20/2014

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Keith Werman spent time working with Nippon Ham this year. The Fighters are planning to put him in charge of international relations, effective January 1. He will be based out of San Diego and will work in cooperation with the Padres under the organization's partnership agreement. His job will include gathering information, handling negotiations, and being the Fighters' main contact in the United States. He will also assist Nippon Ham's two US-based scouts. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/20/2014

[12/19/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Yohei Oshima, Kenta Maeda

by on Dec.20, 2014 @ 6:27 am, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers could offer Chihiro Kaneko (31) anything from a one-year deal to a four-year deal. Source: Daily Sports 12/19/2014 ... The Tigers believe Kaneko (right elbow) will be ready for the start of the regular season. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/19/2014

Yohei Oshima (29) met with Chunichi for salary negotiations for the third time this off-season on Thursday and agreed to their original seventy-four million yen offer. He considered arbitration, but decided to sign. "This won't end unless someone folds. I've been a long-time fan so I don't really want to cause any problems for the Dragons. My wife telling me that there would be no guarantee I would be happy after arbitration was also a big factor." Oshima's wife also told him that he was already making enough money. Source: Sports Hochi 12/19/2014, Sponichi 12/19/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/19/2014

Hiroshima's Kenta Maeda (26) is expected to finalize his contract for the 2015 season before the end of the year. Maeda met the Carp on Thursday to lay the groundwork for a contract. He will most likely sign for 280 million yen (no change from this season). Source: Sports Hochi 12/19/2014

[12/19/2014] Hanshin Tigers, Yakult Swallows

by on Dec.20, 2014 @ 5:32 am, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers

Yakult Swallows

  • The media learned on Thursday that the Swallows will be introducing a new set of alternate home uniforms with the word "Tokyo" across the chest. The new design will be unveiled in January. It will be the first time a Yakult uniform has featured the word "Tokyo" on the chest. Source: Sanspo 12/19/2014
  • Shingo Kawabata's wife is seven months pregnant with the couple's first child. Source: Sanspo 12/19/2014