=== 3/26/2010 12:52am JST
...The Bay Stars held a season kick-off ceremony on Thursday (after they prayed at Iseyama Kotai Shrine).
=== 3/25/2010 5:32pm JST
...The Bay Stars have one rookie on their opening day roster: Shigeru Kaga. This will be the first time since 2007 (Michiomi Yoshihara) that the Bay Stars enter the season with a rookie pitcher on their opening day roster.
...Stephen Randolph will be getting the opening day start. On Wednesday, he told reporters that he's not feeling any pressure even though he doesn't have any experience as an opening day starter.
...Takao Obana told reporters on Wednesday that he'd like his team to go 2-1 in the opening series against the Hanshin Tigers.
...The Bay Stars will be selling special Opening Day Surprise Bags beginning on the 27th. Each bag will cost 10,000 yen and will contain a variety of Bay Stars' goodies. You won't be able to see what's inside the bag, so there's a change you'll also get something you don't want. There will also be a limit of 400 bags.
...Female fans that show up on designated SutaPuri (スタプリ), or Stadium Prints, will get a coupon for one free beauty salon lip treatment, courtesy VECUA.
...Yuki Yoshimura is continuing on with his Home Run Tree Project (ホームランツリー・プロジェクト) this year. And that means he'll be giving away one tree to a fan for every home run he hits during regular season CL games.
...Kenta Maeda tossed a bullpen session on Wednesday in preparation for his opening day start against the Chunichi Dragons.
...Kenjiro Nomura told reporters that he plans to use Tomonori Maeda as a pinch-hitter during the regular season and a DH during Inter-league play on Wednesday.
...Kan Otake threw 140 pitches to a squatting catcher on flat ground on Wednesday. His shoulder was feeling so good, it seems Otake even considering heading to the bullpen. Otake will take a rest from throwing on Thursday.
...Because of the shortage of starting pitching arms right now, the Carp will begin the season with four relievers (Ryuji Yokoyama, Mike Schultz, Tomohiro Umetsu, and Ken Takahashi) and closer Katsuhiro Nagakawa.
=== 3/25/2010 1:03am JST
...An interview with Akinobu Mayumi that took place on Thursday has been posted at the Hanshin Tigers website.
...Kenji Johjima took 46 swings during BP on Thursday and hit 12 over the fence.
=== 4:24pm JST
...The Tigers will be carrying just one rookie on their opening day roster: Shunsuke Fujikawa.
...The Tigers are carrying seven relievers (including Kyuji Fujikawa) on their opening day roster. Seems like a lot considering they're only carrying eleven pitchers in all. But then they do have a one more spot open on the active roster and they can easily add another start or two when they're ready to join the Ichi-gun roster.
...Casey Fossum was not one of the pitchers on the opening day roster. He'll begin the year at Ni-gun. He told reporters on Wednesday that he had nothing new to say and that he would continue to do his best.
...Ryo Asai started in left and batted fourth in a Ni-gun game against Orix on Wednesday and went 0-for-2. The game ended up being called after three innings due to the weather. Assuming Matt Murton plays well, Asai will likely end up being his "back-up" player.
...And speaking of Murton, he also a played in the same game (started in center and batted lead-off) and went 0-for-1 with a walk in his two trips to the plate.
...Yasutomo Kubo started the Ni-gun game on Wednesday and tossed 2 scoreless innings and gave up 4 hits. He also struck out 4. Kubo's outing was cut short due to the rain (he was supposed to go 3 innings) so he tossed another 50 pitches in the bullpen for a total 100 for the entire day. He will likely pitch in the Hiroshima series that begins on 3/30.
...It seems the Tigers are planning on adding Ikusei player Kenichi Tagami to the regular roster at some point within the next few days. The Tigers see Tagami as a potential defensive specialist early on.
...Kenji Johjima took 78 swings during BP on Wednesday at Kyocera Dome and hit 22 over the fence, including four into the 5th deck in left.
...Takahiro Arai and Tomoaki Kanemoto also took BP on Wednesday. Based on what I can gather, the two combined for about 90 swings with about half of them going over the fence.
...The pitchers and catchers held an hour-long meeting on Wednesday to discuss pitching strategies for their upcoming games.
...There's a good chance Yuya Ando will be the opening day starter for the Tigers this year. On Wednesday, after the meeting for pitchers and catchers, Ando spent some time playing catch and running dashes.
...It seems Keiji Uezono's first regular season start will likely come against the Hiroshima Carp on the 31st.
...The Tigers don't want to rush Minoru Iwata back from elbow surgery and are also preparing for the worst: that he'll be out the entire season. He is still set to begin his rehab on the 26th.
...The Tigers posted details for their opening day ceremonies: there will be an opening act, followed by ET-KING singing the anthem, flower presentations, and Maki Tamura throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
=== 3/26/2010 1:16am JST
...Shigeru Takada told reporters that the team's success lies in the hands of the young starters like Yoshinori Sato and Kyohei Muranaka. He also added that Aaron Guiel and Jamie D'Antona need to have strong seasons in order for the line-up to score runs.
...The Swallows held night practice at Tokyo Dome on Thursday.
Shohei Tateyama was supposed to pitch at Ni-gun, but with the rain washing out the game, he ended up pitching in a simulated game at Tokyo Dome. He threw 64 pitches and faced 21 batters. Tateyama gave up only one hit, a home run to Shinichi Takeuchi.
Tateyama's first start will likely be against the Chunichi Dragons on the 30th.
=== 3:35pm JST
...The Swallows have one rookie on their opening day roster: Takahiro Araki. With lefty Tetsuya Utsumi starting the opening day game at Tokyo Dome on Friday, the right-handed hitting Araki might find himself in the starting line-up.
...The Swallows may only be carrying two catchers on the opening day roster, but that might have something to do with the fact that Jamie D'Antona can also catch in emergencies. And to that end, it seems D'Antona began incorporating drills from behind the plate on Wednesday so that he won't be entirely rusty if he's ever needed to catch.
...The Swallows will start Masanori Ishikawa, Yoshinori Sato, and Kyohei Muranaka against the Yomiuri Giants for the opening series at Tokyo Dome.
...Norichika Aoki got in some extra BP after general practice on Wednesday. Against the Yomiuri Giants last year, Aoki went 23-for-86 with 1 home run and 7 RBI (the lowest overall offensive totals against CL teams).
...The Swallows held a meeting for pitchers and catchers on Wednesday.
=== 3/26/2010 1:27am JST
...The Dragons held a 2-hour practice at Nagoya Dome on Thursday. Hiromitsu Ochiai told reporters that only the players that deserved to be on the opening day roster made it and that while he would ideally love to win every game in the season, he'd settle for his players doing their best.
...Still no official word on who the Dragons' opening day start will be. It's appears to be a toss-up between Wei-Ying Chen and Kazuki Yoshimi. And the gap between the two pitchers is so small that Ochiai suggested having the two play a game of rock-scissor-paper.
...The Dragons and Edion East signed a 3-year partnership agreement on Thursday. Under the provisions of the agreement, the Dragons will place Edion East's logo on their helmet and the authority for either side to call each other "official partners."
=== 3:06pm JST
...The Dragons have three rookies on the opening day roster: Masato Matsui, Yohei Oshima, and Yusuke Matsui. The last time the team carried 3 or more rookies on the opening day roster was back in 2005: Kenichi Nakata, Yoshihiro Suzuki, and Michihisa Sawai.
It seems there's also a pretty good chance that Oshima is in the starting line-up on opening day as well.
...Tyrone Woods dropped by Nagoya Dome unannounced on Wednesday. He apparently spent some time giving the slumping Tony Blanco some advice on hitting (Woods has been following the team and Blanco from the US).
Woods parted ways with the Chunichi Dragons after the 2008 season and has been working in the real estate industry in Florida. He's currently in Japan to record a segment for a TV program.
...Masahiko Morino vowed to do better against the Yomiuri Giants this year. Last season he went 22-for-92 (.239) with 5 home runs and 15 RBI against the Giants.
...Chunichi Shimbun feels Dionys Cesar and Hirokazu Ibata hold the key to the Dragons' success this year.
=== 3/26/2010 1:45am JST
...The Giants worked out for about 2 hours on Thursday.
...Tetsuya Matsumoto will likely start in center and bat second on opening day.
...The Giants apparently have their own three letter combo of relievers to pitch the last few innings of the game this year. TDK: Kiyoshi Toyoda, Daisuke Ochi, and Marc Kroon.
Speaking of Kroon, the Giants don't appear t0o concerned that he has yet to pitch on consecutive days.
...A t-shirt designed by Hayato Sakamoto for Red Cross Japan (the Red Cross Charity Tee) will go on sale on opening day.
...The Giants will offer discounted section C tickets to students for all weekday home games (not including games against the Hanshin Tigers). The tickets will cost 1,500 yen on the day of the game.
They also announced a section C ticket with free drink plan as well -- for a list of applicable dates, check the link above.
=== 2:38pm JST
...The Giants are going with three rookies on their opening day roster: Kyohei Tsuchimoto, Tomoya Ichikawa, and Hisayoshi Chono. While this may not be a first for the Giants, it certainly the first time it has "officially" happened since 1985 when teams first started posting their opening day rosters.
...Yoshinobu Takahashi took part in general practice from 1:30pm until 5:30pm on Wednesday. He took some BP and worked on his defense at first. Prior to general practice, Takahashi also spent some time going over scouting reports for other CL teams.
Takahashi will likely start at first and bat 8th on opening day.
Sanspo is also carrying a mini-interview with Takahashi that you can find (in Japanese) here.
...Alex Ramirez apparently told guests at the rally on Tuesday that he's going to shoot for 50 home runs this year.
...The Ni-gun Giants will be playing a practice game against Industrial League Honda on 3/28.
...The Giants will be handing out game programs again this year (to the first 10,000 fans), beginning with their home opener on the 26th.
...The Giants' website has been re-designed.
...The Giants posted the schedules for Stage G-King at their official site.
...It seems the Giants will be going with a 5-man rotation during the first two series of the season and add Tetsuya Yamaguchi in during or after the third series. Both Tetsuya Utsumi and Dicky Gonzalez will likely pitch on 5-days rest during the first few turns of the rotation.
Yamaguchi is scheduled to start a Ni-gun game against Yakult on the 24th (he'll try to throw about 100 pitches).
...Both Gonzalez and Utsumi did some running and various other basic exercises on Tuesday in preparation for their upcoming starts against the Yakult Swallows. Utsumi vowed to toss a complete game opening day victory. And if he does it, he'll be the first lefty to do it in franchise history.
...Tatsunori Hara expects his starters to go at least 7 innings while giving up, at the most, 3 runs.
...For those interested in what a Nippon Series Championship Ring looks like (they apparently cost 1M yen a piece).
...The Giants announced that they have begun offering team logo / player wallpapers and various other goodies to allow fans to customize their mobile phones through a site called Giants Kisekai (ＧＩＡＮＴＳ きせかえ).
...Giants' posters have apparently been plastered on 21 columns (42 images) at Tokyo Station's Yaesu entrance. There's also a mini exhibit of player uniforms as well. The area is being sponsors by Yomiuri Shimbun, Nippon TV, and the Yomiuri Giants.
...Team owner Bungo Shirai apparently told Hiromitsu Ochiai on Tuesday that he fully expects his team to go 16-8 against the Yomiuri Giants this season (the reverse of their fortunes from last season).
Ochiai hit some grounders, for the first time in about month, during fielding practice for pitchers on Tuesday.
Ochiai also told reporters that he will not be making any comments about winning the Central League this year.
...During outfield practice on Tuesday, Dionys Cesar, Yohei Oshima, and Yusuke Matsui worked out in center while Atsushi Fujii, Kei Nomoto, and Masaaki Koike worked out in right. Of course, left field is Kazuhiro Wada's.
...Super Diamond Owners will be allowed to take a walk on the field after the Dragons play the Hanshin Tigers on 4/4.
...Masanori Ishikawa is 3-1 on opening day. If he wins on opening day this year, he'll take the lead in franchise opening day victories. Ishikawa is currently stuck in a four-way tie with Masaichi Kaneda, Hiromu Matsuoka, and Kazuhisa Ishii.
Ishikawa will take on the Yomiuri Giants on opening day.
...The Swallows only have two catchers on the their opening day rosters.
...Norichika Aoki's appearance on Nippon TV's News Zero has been bumped up a day to Wednesday (3/24).
...Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi faced 13 batters during a simulated game on Tuesday and threw 48 pitches (he gave up 1 hit and walked 3). He was original scheduled to start a Ni-gun game against Orix, but the outing was washed out due to the rain. Shiomyanagi later told his reporters that his knee felt fine.
Shimoyanagi will likely start the game on the 27th against the Yokohama Bay Stars. Daily Sports predicts a start on the 28th.
...Keiji Uezono also faced 13 batters during a simulated game on Tuesday and gave up 5 hits.
...Matt Murton went 1-for-3 during his simulated game at bats on Tuesday. He was the only experienced player that took part in the game.
...Takahiro Arai worked out with the hi-sock look on Tuesday. He told reporters that he plans to go with the new look this season. Takashi Toritani started sporting the hi-sock last season.
...Kenji Johjima practiced making one-hop throws to first and second on Tuesday. He's obviously trying to take advantage of the fact that most stadiums in Japan use turf.
...Daily Sports and Johjima have teamed up for a giveaway: Johjima will be giving away one autographed bat to one Daily Sports reader for each home run he hits during the regular.
...The Tigers and Abiste collaborated on new mobile phone strap called the Kira Kira Tiger Strap (targeted for female fans). The strap carries a 4,620 yen price tag and will be sold over a 6 day period beginning on 4/6. Straps will be limited to the first 600 customers.
...Tigers' mascots To Lucky and Lucky are looking for kindergartens schools to visit.