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[11/22/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Chiba Lotte Marines, Softbank Hawks, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Nov.23, 2014 @ 3:58 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • Hiromoto Okubo would prefer players not select ballads for their intro music. He thinks the slower music could put a damper on rallies. Source: Sanspo 11/22/2014
  • The Eagles announced that Toshiya Nakashima (34) has decided to retire. A retirement ceremony will be held during fan appreciation day on the 23rd. Nakashima will remain in the organization as a junior coach for the organization's youth baseball clinics. Source: official announcement

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Most of the players that attended Kamogawa fall camp will likely be assigned to Ichi-gun spring camp next year. Source: Sponichi 11/22/2014
  • Hero Interview Award: fans selected Hideaki Wakui's hero interview from September 28 as their favorite for September/October. Wakui's interview racked up 201 of 651 votes. Alfredo Despaigne's hero interview on September 23 came in second with 197 votes. Source: official announcement

Softbank Hawks

  • There will be a championship parade in Fukuoka for the Hawks on the 24th. Owner Masayoshi Son, chairman Sadaharu Oh, and Nobuhiro Matsuda will be riding in car one; Koji Akiyama, Seiichi Uchikawa, and Ryota Igarashi in car two; president Yoshimitsu Goto, Kenichi Nakata, and Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce chairman Norio Sueyoshi in car three; pitchers and catcher in bus one; infielders, outfielders, and Pepper in bus two; Ikusei players, executive committee members, and the father dog in the tour bus. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/22/2014
  • The Hawks announced that Shintaro Ejiri (37) has decided to retire. The Hawks will hold a retirement ceremony during fan appreciation day on the 24th. Source: official announcement, Nikkan Sports 11/22/2014

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Naoki Miyanishi was named the next team captain on Saturday. Source: official announcement
  • The Fighters have set up a strict three-year development program for Shohei Otani that kept him from being used as a position player during the Suzuki Japan All-Star Series. The three-year development program is slated to end after the 2015 season, which leaves open the possibility of Otani participating in the 2015 Premier 12 and the 2017 World Baseball Classic as both a pitcher and position player. Source: Sanspo 11/22/2014, Daily Sports 11/22/2014
  • Former Fighter Masaya Ozaki (30) has decided to retire. Ozaki attended the first twelve-team tryout on the 9th but did not receive any offers. He decided not to attend the second tryout on the 20th. Source: Sponichi 11/22/2014

[11/22/2014] Daisuke Matsuzaka turns down Yokohama, could be close to deal with Softbank

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 10:28 pm, under NPB
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According to Sponichi, Daisuke Matsuzaka (34) may be close to agreeing on a deal with the Softbank Hawks.

Matsuzaka was said to have narrowed down his NPB options to two teams, the Softbank Hawks and Yokohama Bay Stars. The media learned on Friday that he recently turned down the Bay Stars. Yokohama president Jun Ikeda is quoted in a Jiji Press report as saying, "We did what we could. It's up for him to decide what to do."

Softbank may have offered Matsuzaka three or more years on their offer, along with the uniform number eighteen. He is currently in Boston and has already added NPB baseballs to his throwing program. He will most likely finalize his contract with the Hawks when he returns to Japan early next month.

Source: Sponichi 11/22/2014, Jiji Press 11/22/2014

Yomiuri Giants at home Hero of the Year Award: Yoshinobu Takahashi

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 6:25 pm, under NPB
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The Yomiuri Giants at home Hero of the Year Award went to Yoshinobu Takahashi (determined by fan balloting).

July 6, vs Chunichi: with the score tied at one and the bases loaded in the 8th, Takahashi gave the Giants a 3-1 lead with a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run single to center.  He also came up with a big hit on July 5: Down 3-2 in the 7th, he blasted a pinch-hit two-run homer.  [official announcement - box score]

[11/21/2014] Seibu Lions unveil new 2015 uniforms

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 5:48 pm, under NPB
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The Seibu Lions unveiled their 2015 home and road uniforms during a press conference at the team offices in Tokorozawa, Saitama earlier today. Takumi Kuriyama and Shogo Akiyama modeled the uniforms.

The uniforms will be worn by players during fan appreciation day on Sunday.

Source: official announcement, official uniform site

[11/21/2014] Free Agents: Takashi Toritani, Chihiro Kaneko, Yoshihisa Naruse, Eiichi Koyano

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 5:02 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • Toritani may still be wavering about leaving the Hanshin Tigers for the Majors.

Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Orix Buffaloes are not planning to rush their negotiations with Kaneko. They might wait to see what kind of offers he gets from other clubs.
  • Arn Tellem may have asked other NPB teams to submit offers on Kaneko.
  • Orix team official Ryuzo Setoyama on posting Kaneko: "We are currently not accepting it. He has not told us about wanting to be posted [during negotiations up to now]. We've told him we want him to stay with Orix and help us next season."

Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

  • Naruse could announce his intention to sign with Yakult on Sunday, the day after Lotte's fan appreciation day.

Source: Sports Hochi 11/21/2014

Eiichi Koyano

  • Koyano grew up in Edogawa, Tokyo. He once got lost at Seibu Stadium when he was a child. His wife and daughter live in Tokyo. He told reporters he was used to living apart from his family in Hokkaido, but with offers from three teams on the table (Seibu, Orix, Hippon Ham), there is a good chance will pick Seibu.

Sources: ZakZak 11/21/2014

[11/21/2014] Rumors: Kosuke Tomita, Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 4:52 am, under NPB
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The Texas Rangers made an offer to Yokohama senryokugai Kosuke Tomita (26). He was scheduled to attend the twelve-team tryout on Thursday, but canceled after he got the offer. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014, Sponichi 11/21/2014

Shugo Fujii (37) may be prepared to retire if he gets no NPB offers. Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

The Hanshin Tigers feel they could hear from Hiroyuki Nakajima (32) some time around December 10. Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014 ... The media learned on Thursday that the Tigers submitted their final offer to Nakajima. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014 ... Seibu does not plan on getting into a bidding war with the Tigers. They will most likely stand by their current offer. Source: Daily Sports 11/21/2014

Munenori Kawasaki (33) chatted with Isao Harimoto earlier this month. Sponichi posted their conversation on November 8. Kawasaki had this to say about his future: "I do have plans to come back to Japan. That was the plan from my first year. I have no interest in the Majors. I went because I wanted to play with Ichiro. And it was crazy. I thought I'd be cut in a month. But, it's been three years. I have more friends, and it was good having conversations I never would have had if I stayed in Japan. I have no intention of finishing my career in the United States. I still don't know what I'm going to do. All I know is that I want to play baseball." Source: Sponichi 11/21/2014

[11/21/2014] Yomiuri Giants, Hanshin Tigers, Hiroshima Carp, Yakult Swallows

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 4:29 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

  • Tatsunori Hara would like pitching coach Kiyoshi Toyoda to work with Hirokazu Sawamura on his conversion from starter to reliever. Source: Sponichi 11/21/2014
  • Koshien police arrested a thirty-seven-year-old man on the 18th on suspicion of posting death-threats against people connected to the Yomiuri Giants at an online website on September 8. Security on the third base side at Koshien Stadium was beefed up during a Yomiuri three-game series that took place between September 9 and 11. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/18/2014

Hanshin Tigers

  • Pitching coach Kiyooki Nakanishi believes Shintaro Fujinami needs to work on three things to become the staff ace: winning percentage (recording double-digit victories is not enough), performance against left-handed hitters (right-handed hitters batted .191, left-handed hitter .306), and innings pitched (he does not have to throw 200 innings, but any less than the 163 he threw this season will not be good enough). Source: Nikkan Sorts 11/21/2014
  • Masahiro Nakatani was Yutaka Wada's fielding MVP during fall camp -- he showed good defense and a strong outfield arm during fielding practices. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014
  • Hiroya Shimamoto was added to the seventy-man roster. His uniform number will change from 126 to 69. Source: official announcement, Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014
  • The Tigers are thinking about inviting their US-based scout Jeff Williams to spring camp next year as a special instructor. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014
  • Yutaka Tamaki (28) will file marriage papers with a twenty-eight-year-old woman from Osaka. A ceremony and reception will be held in Osaka on December 14. Source: Sponichi 11/21/2014

Hiroshima Carp

  • Koichi Ogata spent about two hours hitting baseballs to pitchers positioned in the infield (from 1:30pm until 3:30pm). Yuki Mima will most likely be assigned to Ichi-gun spring camp. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/22/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • Masato Furuno threw 1,429 pitches during fall camp. Source: Sanpso 11/21/2014
  • Yoshinori Sato tossed 130 pitches in the bullpen on Thursday. It was his sixth session during fall camp. Including pitches he threw during games, Yoshinori tossed 634 pitches during fall camp. Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

[11/21/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines, Softbank Hawks, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 4:02 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • Hiromoto Okubo is planning to ask players to submit their workouts plans for the off-season and provide the team with regular updates on their progress. Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

Seibu Lions

  • Senior director Hisanobu Watanabe is planning to attend the winter meetings in San Diego early next month. Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Shohei Kato told reporters on Thursday that he probably swung the bat about 21,000 times during fall camp. Tsutomu Ito was not impressed. Said Ito, "It isn't the number, it's the quality. I think I saw 1,000 [good swings]." Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

Softbank Hawks

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Shohei Otani is planning to spend his winter working out at the Kamagaya facilities. Source: Sponichi 11/21/2014

[11/21/2014] Ryoji Aikawa formally turns down Yakult, to sign with Yomiuri

by on Nov.21, 2014 @ 11:58 pm, under NPB
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Ryoji Aikawa (38) met with the Yakult Swallows on Friday to formally turn down their offer and to let them know that he was planning to sign with the Yomiuri Giants.

Aikawa first met the Yomiuri Giants on the 13th. He did not receive an offer, but was told he would have a chance to compete for the everyday job at catcher. He met the Giants again on the 16th and was most likely offered a one-year contract worth an estimated sixty million yen and the uniform number 23.

The Giants are also said to have reached a deal with Tatsuhiko Kinjo (38). The Yokohama Bay Stars announced that Kinjo will not be participating in fan appreciation day and posted the following statement from the veteran:

To the fans,

I was able to play for the Yokohama Bay Stars for sixteen years because you supported me by cheering for me while I was on the field. There were good times and bad times. Regardless of how things were going, your cheering never changed. Your warm cheering gave me strength.

I am very sorry, but I will not be able to properly say goodbye to you as I leave this team. I will never forget the appreciation I have for you and will pursue my baseball career to the fullest.

Thank you very much for the sixteen years.

Yomiuri is expected to hold a press conference for both players in early December.

Sources: Sponichi 11/21/2014, Daily Sports 11/21/2014, Daily Sports 11/21/2014, Daily Sports 11/21/2014, official announcement (Kinjo)