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Softbank Hawks: Falkenborg, Pena, Doyle, Allen, Yang will likely return in 2013

by on Oct.20, 2012 @ 4:47 pm, under NPB
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A Softbank Hawks official told reporters on Friday that the team planned to offer Brian Falkenborg a contract for the 2013 season.  The team will probably want Hideki Okajima to return next season as well, but he has expressed an interest in returning to the US.

Other players that will likely return next season: Wily Mo Pena, Terry Doyle, Brad AllenYao-Hsun Yang, and Ikusei pitcher Edison Barrios.

The Hawks are not expected to offer Renyel Pinto, Angel Castro, Levi Romero, and Ikusei outfielder Josh Short contracts for the 2013 season.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/20/2012

Softbank Hawks: March 2, 2012

by on Mar.02, 2012 @ 11:54 pm, under NPB
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Nagisa Arakaki is scheduled to relieve Tadashi Settsu and pitch three innings in relief during Saturday's exhibition game against the Chiba Lotte Marines.

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The Hawks are thinking about giving Angel Castro a look as a set-up man/closer.  Masahiko Morifuku and Takehito Kanazawa could also make it into the mix.  They may also see how pitchers like Yasushi Kamiuchi and 5th round draft pick Shinya Kayama handle pitching in spot situations.

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The Hawks made a couple of minor changes inside the first base dugout at Yahoo Dome: they raised the back row of seats about fifteen centimeters to give players/coaches sitting in the back row a better view of the field; and they replaced the old bullpen  monitor with a wall-mounted flat panel screen.

Softbank Hawks: February 12, 2012

by on Feb.12, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Sunday

  • Renyel Pinto faced ten batters during situational batting practice and did not allow a hit and struck out seven.  Angel Castro threw thirty-four pitches in the bullpen. (Sponichi)

Saturday

  • Sho Iwasaki faced nine batters during situational batting practice and allowed two hits and struck out three.  He also topped out at 147km/h. (Sponichi)

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Today was the last day of the third block of camp.  The team has the day off tomorrow.

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The Hawks drew 22,000 fans today.

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3rd round draft pick Masayoshi Tsukada was excused from practices today because he was not feeling well (he also missed practices on Saturday with a fever).  His test for the flu came back negative.  Soichiro Tateoka was called up from Ni-gun to take Tsuakada's spot.

1st round draft pick Shota Takeda worked out with the Ni-gun team today after missing practices yesterday because he was not feeling well.

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Angel Castro told reporters today that he threw his bullpen session at about 80-85%.

====== UPDATE 2/13 @ 1:37am

The Softbank Hawks Miyazaki Support Group presented the team 100 kabayaki eels on Sunday.

Softbank Hawks: February 11, 2012

by on Feb.11, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Saturday

  • Hiroki Kokubo collected two hits during situational BP: a double to left off Keisuke Katto and a single to center off Shingo Tatsumi. (Sponichi)

Friday

  • Wily Mo Pena went 1-for-3 during situational BP: double to right-center off Mu-Young Kim and then struck out twice. (Sponichi)

Saturday

  • Tadashi Settsu threw fifty-three pitches in the bullpen. (Nikkan Sports)
  • Sho Iwasaki struck out Seiichi Uchikawa looking during situational batting practice.  (Sports Hochi)

Friday

  • Hiroyuki Kawahara faced nine batters during situational BP and did not allow a hit.  He also struck out three, two of which were Wily Mo Pena and Nobuhiro Matsuda. (Sponichi)  Nine batters: three strikeouts, one infield ground out, one infield line out, four walks.  He also topped out at 149km/h.  The other strikeout victim was Toru Hosokawa. (Nikkan Sports)

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About 18,500 fans showed up today.

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Tu-Hsuan Lee spent about thirty minutes in the batting cages during extra morning batting practice.  Batting coach Yoshiie Tachibana watched over the session.

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The Hawks held a press conference at Miyazaki Ivy Stadium for Angel Castro today.

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Hiroyuki Kawahara apparently sees the strikezone as two distinct areas: inside and outside.

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Brad Penny on pitching his first bullpen session in Japan on Friday: "The mound seemed a little softer [than what I am used to in the US].  The stitches on the baseball felt bigger and my off-speed pitches were fine."

Softbank Hawks: February 10, 2012

by on Feb.10, 2012 @ 11:58 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions

Friday

  • Shuhei Fukuda hit a homer during situational BP. (Sponichi)
  • Hiroki Kokubo took 130 swings and hit thirty-two over the fence. (Sanspo)

Thursday

  • Wily Mo Pena saw twenty-four pitches from Hiroki Yamada and collected five could-be hits, none went over the wall. (Nikkan Sports)

Friday

  • Brad Penny threw thirty-three pitches, including off-speed pitches, to a squatting Toru Hosokawa.  This was Penny's first bullpen session since arriving in Japan. (Sanspo)  He threw the session at 30-40%. (Daily Sports)  Or, he played catch (three throws), threw eight pitches to a standing catcher, and thirty-three pitches to a squatting catcher. (Nikkan Sports)

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Akira Nakamura took about thirty minutes of morning batting practice today.

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Toru Hosokawa spent about two hours taking extra batting practice on Thursday.

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The Hawks announced on Thursday that Angel Castro was due to arrive in Japan on Friday.  They are also planning to hold a press conference for Castro on Saturday.

Softbank Hawks: January 27, 2012

by on Jan.27, 2012 @ 11:48 pm, under NPB
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The Hawks announced today that their team slogan for 2012 will be "VV."

The two V's stand for:

- the players and fans coming together as one to win
- two Pacific League championships (2010 and 2011)
- the hope for two straight Nippon Series rings (2011 and 2012)

They also announced that "otosan" dog will continue on as the team's oen leader.  The dog has been leader since 2009.

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Nikkan Sports reports that Sadaharu Oh wants Angel Castro to learn on how to throw a change-up.  Sports Hochi has posted a slightly different report that has Oh calling for Castro to learn how to throw a curve

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Yuichi Honda returned from his training session in Saipan today.

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Hiroki Kokubo returned from his training session in Arizona today.  He also told reporters his rehab was going well (necks surgery in December) and that he started taking soft-toss BP on January 18.

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Nobuhiko Matsunaka is scheduled to return to Japan from his training in Guam on January 28.  According to a Nikkan Sports interview, he is prepared to call it quits whenever he feels he is no longer able to play well.  He also does have an interest in reaching the 2,000-hit mark (he is 269 hits away).

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1st round draft pick Shota Takeda threw 29 pitches (including off-speed pitches) in the bullpen (standing catcher) after practices on Thursday.  Takeda also threw 30 pitches in the bullpen the night before -- Ikusei 1st round draft pick Go Kamamoto "caught" him.

Softbank Hawks: January 21, 2012

by on Jan.22, 2012 @ 12:13 am, under NPB
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5th round draft pick Shinya Kayama, Ikusei 3rd round draft pick Shota Miura, and Ikusei 4th round draft pick Takashi Shimizu all tossed bullpen sessions on Saturday.

Miura thew 30 pitches in his second bullpen session in as many days.

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Yuki Yanagita is planning to use a Barry Bonds model bat in 2012, or at least something based on it, lengthwise.

Yanagita borrowed a Barry Bonds model bat while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.  The bat was about five inches longer (34 inches) than the bat he normally uses and he liked how it helped him cover home plate (outside and inside corners) while standing further away from it.

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At least one Hawk is happy with the Angel Castro acquisition.  Kenji Otonari played winter ball with Castro this off-season and feels he can succeed in Japan.

"[Castro] is a good guy.  He studies batters.  I think his flexibility will translate well in Japan. ... He has a good fastball and his slider has a big break.  I think his pitches will be effective in Japan," said Otonari.

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Hiroki Kokubo is planning to hand out a Captain's Award at the end of the season.  The award will go to a young player Kokubo feels did their best to help the team win.

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The Hawks will be selling 490 yen tickets (infield reserved, regularly priced at 4,000 yen) to their ten exhibition games at Yahoo Dome via their mobile site.  There will be a limit of 1,000 tickets per game.

Softbank Hawks interested in 29-year-old Angel Castro

by on Jan.18, 2012 @ 10:36 am, under NPB
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Nikkan Sports is reporting that the Softbank Hawks are interested in 29-year-old Angel Castro.  The Hawks are interested in Castro as a starter and feel that if he can pick up another off-speed pitch and learn how to change speeds, he could be an effective pitcher in Japan.

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Career Stats

Year Level Org Age W L ERA G GS CG SH GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WP WHIP
2007 A DET 24 7 4 3.01 14 12 0 0 0 0 77.2 66 29 26 10 23 43 5 1.15
2007 A+ DET 24 4 2 3.79 13 13 1 0 0 0 73.2 71 34 31 6 26 35 1 1.32
2008 A+ DET 25 2 1 2.80 21 0 0 0 10 5 35.1 39 12 11 1 11 19 1 1.42
2008 AA DET 25 2 2 3.30 26 0 0 0 10 2 43.2 31 19 16 3 19 33 4 1.15
2009 A+ TBR 26 0 2 22.50 4 0 0 0 1 0 6 11 15 15 3 7 6 1 3.00
2009 AA PHI 26 2 1 7.00 14 0 0 0 6 1 18 26 21 14 2 12 10 5 2.11
2009 AA TBR 26 0 0 6.75 2 0 0 0 1 0 2.2 4 2 2 0 3 1 0 2.62
2010 ind - 27 3 3 3.16 6 6 0 0 0 0 31.1 30 16 11 2 13 21 1 1.37
2010 AAA - 27 3 1 4.70 5 5 0 0 0 0 30.2 26 16 16 2 14 24 0 1.30
2011 AAA - 28 4 4 5.45 21 3 1 1 8 4 39.2 53 30 24 2 22 34 0 1.89
MLB Totals 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 --
MiLB Totals 24 17 4.26 120 33 2 1 36 12 327 327 178 155 29 137 205 17 1.42