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2010 Draft News and Notes: January 26, 2011

by on Jan.26, 2011 @ 11:15 am, under NPB
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This post will be updated throughout the day.

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Hanshin Tigers

Daiki Enokida (1st round) gave himself a grade of 70% on his training thus far.

Hiroshima Carp

Yuki Iwami (3rd round) tossed his first bullpen session of the year today (a day after his 24th birthday).  He threw 13 pitches to a standing catcher, then an additional 63 pitches to a squatting catcher.  All 76 pitches were fastballs.

Yakult Swallows

Today was the final day of rookie training camp.

Chiba Lotte Marines

Shuhei Fujiya (6th round) managed to gather all the data he needed for his college thesis and now just needs to write it.

Seibu Lions

Pitching coach Takehiro Ishii is thinks it might be good to let Tatsuya Oishi (1st round) toss bullpen sessions alongside Hideaki Wakui and Takayuki Kishi during spring camp.  If that happens, Oishi told reporters he'd want to steal some hints on how to throw a fastball (Wakui) and curve (Kishi). ... Oishi tossed 35 pitches in the bullpen (15 to a standing catcher, then 20 to a squatting catcher) and also mixed in his slider and change.  Oishi later told reporters that he threw at about 80-90% and was fairly happy with the session, considering it was the first time he threw to a squatting catcher this year.

Softbank Hawks

Ni-gun battery coach Kazuhiro Yamakura dropped by rookie training camp on Tuesday.  Yamakura is hoping that he'll soon be able to teach Ayatsugu Yamashita (1st round) some of the things he learned while playing in the Yomiuri Giants organization.

Yuki Yanagita (2nd round) will likely start the year with the A group (more or less Ichi-gun).

Yuki Saito News and Notes: January 26, 2011

by on Jan.26, 2011 @ 11:00 am, under NPB
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This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.

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Saito's first paycheck (1.25M yen) was deposited into his bank account on Tuesday.

Saito's comment carried by Sanspo: "I don't gamble so I don't use a lot [of money].  How much do average college grads receive for their first paycheck?  I want to imagine it at that level."

Saito's comment carried by Sponichi (assuming college grads make about 180,000 yen for their first paycheck): "Rent in the city is around 80,000 yen.  Throw in food and mobile phone bills.  That probably leaves about 50,000 yen, maybe more like 30,000 yen.  I don't gamble and I have no interest in brand labels.  I'll even go to Uniqlo. ... I want to live at the same level as the average college grad.  I want to be able to return to normal society after I retire from baseball.  I'll just save [the rest] for now."

The average college grad's first paycheck (2010): Sanspo says about 197,400 yen.  Saito apparently intends to keep his usage down to about 50,000 yen a month.

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Today was the final day of the fourth block of rookie training camp.

Saito worked out for about 2 hours today at Kamagaya.  He told reporters that he planned on turning things up during spring camp.

Yuki Saito News and Notes: January 25, 2011

by on Jan.25, 2011 @ 3:31 pm, under NPB
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This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.

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Bullpen catcher Teppei Komai's assessment of Saito's bullpen session yesterday: "He was still feeling things out for the inside portion of the plate (assuming right-handed batters) but didn't seem to have any problems going outside."  It seems Saito also asked Komai if other pitchers were able to keep their pitches down more during their bullpen sessions.  Komai then told Saito that at this time of year, it didn't really matter so long as there was power behind the pitches.

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Saito had a chance to watch Masao Kida toss a bullpen session yesterday.  Said Saito, "There are some things I can learn from Kida.  I'd like to tap in the large amount of experience and knowledge he has."

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1,800 fans showed up at Kamagaya yesterday.

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Saito's comment about his first pro game during spring camp:

Via Nikkan Sports

I don't really care who the opponent is, I just know I want to get hit in the beginning.  I want to know how [professional players] hit pitches that college players couldn't.  I want to check on those things.

Via Sponichi

I want to get hit [a lot] in the beginning.  I want to see how professional batters hit pitches colleges players couldn't.  The path of the ball, high / low, the pitch type.  I want to see where that line is. ... I want to pitch [in a game] some time in the middle of February.  I don't care about the opponent, so long as they're pro players.  I don't mind if it's an intra-squad game.

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Saito had a chance to meet Masanori Murakami today.

Workouts today included playing catch, fielding practice, and running.  Saito did not toss a bullpen session.

2010 Draft News and Notes: January 25, 2011

by on Jan.25, 2011 @ 2:44 pm, under NPB
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This post will be updated throughout the day.

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Chunichi Dragons

Daiki Yoshikawa (2nd round) had a chance to meet Kosuke Fukudome yesterday at Nagoya Stadium.

Hanshin Tigers

Today was the last day of rookie training camp.

Daiki Enokida (1st round) is currently working on a big curve.

Shinta Hifumi (2nd round) won't be allowed to toss a bullpen session during rookie training camp due to scheduling conflicts.  Hifumi got a delayed start and his high school year-exams began today.  With time limited, the Tigers don't want Hifumi to feel rushed and plan to hold him back from tossing a bullpen session during rookie camp.

Hiroshima Carp

Yuya Fukui (1st round) threw 29 fastballs to a standing catcher in the bullpen today.  For Fukui, it was his first bullpen session of the year.

Yakult Swallows

INF / base-running coach Noriyuki Shiroishi's comments on Tetsuto Yamada's (1st round): "He's got good motor skills.  He's still young though and needs more polish, so it's important for him to continue working on his foundation with basic exercises / practice."  Yamada also attended his high school on the 22nd.

The Swallows held a staff meeting today and decided to start Yuki Shichijo (2nd round) at Ichi-gun camp.

Yomiuri Giants

Hirokazu Sawamura (1st round) did some running (about 30 minutes) with Shinnosuke Abe yesterday.  Abe also offered Sawamura three bits of advice: 1) don't overdo it, 2) make good use of the coaches, 3) make sure you don't follow the wrong person (in other words, be careful of the friends you make).

Ryosuke Miyaguni (2nd round) will return to Okinawa tomorrow in order to take his high school final exams and will rejoin the team in Miyazaki on 2/1.

Chiba Lotte Marines

Shota Ishimine (1st round), Masaki Minami (2nd round), and Shota Koike (4th round) will be appearing on poster ads for Tobu Funabashi (department store).

Seibu Lions

Hisanobu Watanabe would like Tatsuya Oishi (1st round) to use Yusei Kikuchi as his "guide" to the pros.  Seems the two young pitchers remind Watanabe of the time when he and Kimiyasu Kudo anchored the Seibu Lions starting rotation in the late 80's and early 90's.  As such, Watanabe would like to see both pitchers make the starting rotation this year. ... Oishi could toss a bullpen session with a squatting catcher tomorrow (depending on how his shoulder if feeling). ... Oishi tossed 35 pitches in his fourth bullpen session of rookie camp today (standing catcher).  In addition to the fastball, he also threw his slider, change, and fork.  He also told reporters that he had a little trouble getting a good grip on the ball when throwing the fork.

Kazuhisa Makita (2nd round) tossed 40 pitches in the bullpen today and had the catcher squat for the first time.  Makita mixed in his slider, shuto, and sinker.

Softbank Hawks

Practice today included taking grounders and running stairs and hills at a nearby shrine in the morning and strength training after lunch.

2010 Draft News and Notes: January 24, 2011

by on Jan.24, 2011 @ 1:10 pm, under NPB
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Chunichi Dragons

Daiki Yoshikawa (2nd round) took an eye test to see how well he could see 6 numbers that were flashed in front of him during general workouts at Nagoya Stadium on Sunday.  During 3 tests with him face forward, he made a total 5 mistakes.  While standings from the side (as if in the batter's box) he took the test twice and made 2 mistakes.  To put that into some sort of perspective, Masahiko Morino made just 1 mistake; and like Yoshikawa, Kazuhiro Wada also saw a decline in mistakes when he switch from face forward to side.

Hanshin Tigers

Daiki Enokida (1st round) will be making his debut during a practice game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on 2/16.  Enokida also told reporters that he tries not to pay too much attention to the news because he doesn't want to get caught up in it. ... Enoki tossed 50 pitches in the bullpen to a standing catcher today.  He also threw his curve, slider, cutter, fork, and screwball (2, 3 each).  Enokida also said that he didn't have any trouble with the new NPB regulation baseball.

Shinta Hifumi (2nd round) is eating about 9 plates of salad a day (at least 3 plates per meal at 3 meals per day and it seems he hates tomatoes).  The results have been pretty good so far: he had gained about 6kg since last summer and managed to lose 2kg in about 2 weeks since changing his diet.

Hiroshima Carp

Yuya Fukui (1st round) will probably make his debut during a practice game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on 2/12.

Yakult Swallows

Yuki Shichijo (2nd round) will likely make his debut during an intra-squad practice game on either 2/11 or 2/12. ... Shichijo tossed 36 fastballs during his bullpen session yesterday.

Yomiuri Giants

The Giants rookies got a quick 1-hour course on how to file their taxes online using the e-Tax system today.

Seibu Lions

After tossing three consecutive bullpen session between 1/20 and 1/22, Tatsuya Oshi (1st round) did not toss a bullpen session today.  He instead did some long throwing, running, and various strengthening exercises.  When asked about pitching in the bullpen, Oshi said he decided to hold off because it was cold today and that he planned on tossing a bullpen session tomorrow, or the day after, and decide on whether or not to have he catcher sit based on how his shoulder was feeling.

Yuki Saito News and Notes: January 24, 2011

by on Jan.24, 2011 @ 11:26 am, under NPB
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This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.

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Saito's practice started at 6:55am yesterday and his practice parter was Masahiro Inui (3rd round).  Workouts started with stretching, moved on to light BP in the cages (about 15 minutes), then some catch and weight training (about an hour in all).

One of the things Saito is working during rookie training camp is a slight modification to his mechanics: he apparently trying to keep his right leg stretch when he begins his motion.  According to Saito, that's allowing him to keep the center of his weight on his pivot leg, more than the delivery he was using in college.

And while there were 0 fans when Saito started his workouts, there were about 200 fans about an hour later (around 8am).

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Saito plans on carrying around his own magic marker for autographs if the Fighters lift the no autograph ban during spring camp.  As for whether or not the Fighters will lift the ban: the official line is as long as it seems like no one will get hurt, it's possible.

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The Nago Fighters Support Group are planning on creating 10,000 Mottemasu! Sakura Handerkerchiefs (持ってます! さくらハンカチ).  The handkerchief will go on sale for 500 yen and will only be available in Nago, Okinawa.

FYI: Mottemasu is the phrase that Saito made popular and Nago is known for its Sakura.

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The Fighters may decide to keep Saito out of intra-squad games because they won't be able to get a really good look at what he's capable (out of fear of causing injuries to their own teammates, pitchers tend not to be very aggressive during intra-squad games).  Because of this, the Fighters are now thinking about letting him pitch in games against other teams.  The Fighters will probably discuss this issue in length during their next staff meeting on the 26th.

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Katsuya Nomura thinks he may have spotted something wrong with Saito's mechanics:

In order to pitch well and maintain good balance, you want to move in the order of leg, back, and arm.  In watching Saito, he's going arm, back, then leg.  He's doing things backwards.  When he steps with his left leg, his right arm comes out too quickly.  I think he could probably hold back a little longer. ... But I need to see him pitch [in personal] first.

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Saito tossed 28 pitches to a squatting catcher today.  He also mixed in 3 sliders and 1 cutter.

2010 Draft News and Notes: January 23, 2011

by on Jan.23, 2011 @ 3:56 pm, under NPB
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I'll be updating this post throughout the day, so be sure to keep checking back.

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Hanshin Tigers

Daiki Enokida (1st round) is looking forward to working out at Ichi-gun spring camp and wants to "steal" as much information away from the veteran pitchers like Tsuyoshi Shimoyangi, Kuji Fujikawa, and Tomoyuki Kubota.  Enokida also tossed his third straight bullpen session in as many days (50 pitches, all fastballs, to a standing catcher).

Hiroshima Carp

Kyohei Nakamura (1st round) and Yuki Tsurumoto (7th round) tossed their first bullpen sessions yesterday.  Nakamura threw 42 pitches and Tsurumoto threw 36.  For Nakamura, it was his first session since December last year; Tsurumoto threw his last session was back in October.  Both players were selected to start the years at Ichi-gun camp.

Yakult Swallows

Yuki Shichijo (2nd round) tossed a bullpen session today under the watchful eye of Junji Ogawa.  Said Shichijo, "I was nervous.  At first I could really feel his presence, but halfway through, I was able to start throwing normally."

Chiba Lotte Marines

Shota Ishimine (1st round) plans on continuing his workouts at his Alma mater Tokai University.  Seems like he'll be focusing on his hitting since he couldn't do as much as he wanted to during rookie training camp because of construction being done to the indoor training facilities.

Shuhei Fujiya (6th round) tossed his third bullpen session on the last day of rookie training camp today.  He threw 43 pitches, mostly fastballs and at about 50%, to a standing catcher.  Fujiya later told reporters that he wanted to throw 2-3 more bullpens before the start of spring camp.

Softbank Hawks

Koji Akiyama watched the rookies working out at the Saitozaki training facilities today for the first time.

Yuki Saito News and Notes: January 23, 2011

by on Jan.23, 2011 @ 3:56 pm, under NPB
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This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.

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Akinobu Okada (ORI) feels Saito will make his presence known at the Ichi-gun level before his former teammates, Tatsuya Oshi (SEI, 1st round) and Yuya Fukui (HIR, 1st round).  Okada also wondered if perhaps Saito may have thrown too much during college.

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Katsuya Nomura is interested in seeing Saito pitch, in person, and is thinking about dropping by the Fighters' spring camp facilities.

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1,500 tickets (1,000 yen each) to a fan event in Nago, Okinawa on 2/5 sold out in 3 hours on the 21st.  A number of them have also apparently showed up on auctions.  An unnamed club rep told reporters the team was surprised at how quickly the tickets sold out and that even when the widely popular Tsuyoshi Shinjo joined the team in 2004, it took a few days before the tickets to sell out.

FYI: it seems a travel agency named Air Okinawa has about 50-60 of these tickets that they're selling in conjunction with tour packages to Okinawa.

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Manpukuji Temple in Kamagaya has apparently seen a fivefold increase in visitors so far this year.

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About 2,700 fans showed up at Kamagaya for the last day of the third block of rookie training camp yesterday.

Mizuno is still getting a lot of calls regarding the equipment Saito is using during rookie training camp.  The training suit Saito wore yesterday was a brand new model.

Incidentally, when reporters asked Saito about his training suit, he asked back, "Do you have any questions on stuff other than my training suit?"

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The rookies had the day off today, but Saito still got up early in the morning and headed out to the indoor practice facilities before 7am to play some catch.  He told reporters that he just automatically wakes up and figured he'd play some catch in preparation for his bullpen session tomorrow.  Saito also said that he wanted to make sure he got some rest during his last real break before spring camp (1/27).

2010 Draft News and Notes: January 22, 2011

by on Jan.22, 2011 @ 3:31 pm, under NPB
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I'll be updating this post throughout the day, so be sure to keep checking back.

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Hanshin Tigers

Akinobu Mayumi watched Daiki Enokida (1st round) toss a bullpen session yesterday for the first time.  For Enokida, it was his second bullpen session in as many days.  As of now, Mayumi envisions Enokida as a starter.

Hiroshima Carp

The Carp decided yesterday that the following five players from the 2010 draft class will be attending Ichi-gun spring camp: Yuya Fukui (1st round), Kyohei Nakamura (2nd round), Yuki Iwami (3rd round), Masaya Kanemaru (4th round), and Yuki Tsurumoto (7th round).  The last time the Carp carried so many rookies at Ichi-gun spring camp was back in 2000.

Yakult Swallows

Yuki Shichijo (2nd round) would like the chance to pitch against Yuki Saito (HAM, 1st round) during a practice game their teams will play on 2/20.

Yomiuri Giants

Bullpen catcher Hisahiko Irino's take on Hirokazu Sawamura's (1st round) "mock" bullpen session yesterday:  "He's no ordinary pitcher.  The spin he puts on the ball leads to good movement.  I think he was throwing around 140km/h.  Seems like he can throw even harder."  Sawamura told reporters that he tried to keep himself at about 50%, but got excited about pitching and ended up throwing harder than that. ... A Giants training coach told Sawamura yesterday he could pitch, so long as it wasn't off an incline.

Keisuke Kishi ended up having the best running times during all three blocks of rookie training camp.

Today was the last day of rookie training camp.

Seibu Lions

Tatsuya Oishi (1st round) tossed 60 pitches in the bullpen yesterday (second in as many days) and ended up adding in his slider, fork, and change.  He later told reporters that the ball kept slipping out of his hand when he tried to throw his off-speed pitches, especially his fork and change.  Oishi added that he wanted to toss another bullpen session today if his shoulder was ok.  Seems the rookies are also playing the soccer game Winning Eleven in the dorms. ... Oshi did throw a bullpen session today -- he threw 30 pitches to a standing catcher and mixed in his slider and change.  Kosuke Noda caught the session and later said, "Even though it was a light session, the ball came in pretty hard.  He throws heavy pitches.  I think he was in the 140km/h range."

Softbank Hawks

Ayatsugu Yamashita (1st round) is hoping to have a chance to catch Brian Falkenborg in order to help him with his English studies.

Softbank Hawks employees are giving rookies a one-hour lecture after practices, at a pace of about once every three days.  The lectures cover things like sales, marketing, and managing -- pretty much anything that has to do with running the Hawks.  Team owner Son Masayoshi is hoping to raise well-rounded baseball players.

Yuki Saito News and Notes: January 22, 2011

by on Jan.22, 2011 @ 2:53 pm, under NPB
Tags: , , ,

This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.

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Sanspo has some comments that were taken from Saito yesterday:

[Suguru] Egawa watched over your bullpen session...

He was a great player.  If he found anything wrong with my mechanics, I'd be extremely happy / grateful for his advice.

On your session?

I tried to focus on my form and balance.  I think I'm slowly getting there.

How is your fastball?

I take pride in my fastball, but I'm not as interested in power as I am interested in control.  I want to keep improving that.  Other than that, it's actually facing batters.

Differences between this bullpen and your last bullpen?

I threw a little harder this time.  Maybe around 70%.

You also threw some off-speed pitches?

I'm getting a pretty good feel [for the ball].  I just need to get batters to send in the box to check [on my control].

Your plans moving forward?

I want to throw at least two more bullpen sessions.  I'll probably have the catcher squatting during my next session.  But I also need to make sure I don't injure myself [from overdoing it].

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Suguru Egawa told reporters that if Saito continues to polish his pitches, he could become a pitcher like Manabu Kitabeppu (HIR) and win 200 games.  Egawa's comments:

I see nothing wrong with his form.  I think he was only throwing at about 60%, but he was consistently around the plate.  He can throw pitches as if he were playing in a game.

He only threw one pitch above the catcher's head.  That's unusual.  When professional pitchers start throwing, their pitches tend to go up, but that form of his must be good.  He's seems like a strong game day pitcher.

With a good fastball and a slider type pitch...  If he can become a control pitcher like Kitabeppu, I think he can win close to 200 games.

It might not be a lot of fun to continue throwing the same pitch over and over again, but it's about patience and working through that.  If he can do that, his control will improve.

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Masumi Kuwata wants Saito to pace himself and consider his career, 10 - 20 years from now.

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Saito tossed 40 pitches (of which 8 were off-speed) in his bullpen session yesterday.  He also signed about 10 autographs after practice yesterday (in front of the player dorms where I'm guessing it was safe).

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About 2,200 fans showed up at Kumagaya yesterday.

Terry Ito (producer / actor) and Yoko Kumada (gravure idol) also dropped in to visit Saito yesterday.  Ito was there to provide coverage for a radio program.

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Today was the last day of the third block of rookie training camp.

Saito wore a yellow training suit to practice.  He later switched into a white training suit (with shorts and red socks) and used a pink glove when he played catch.