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[1/5/2014] Masahiro Tanaka, Andruw Jones, Brooks Conrad

by on Jan.05, 2014 @ 3:28 pm, under MLB
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Masahiro Tanaka updates from US sources via Japanese media.

The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham writes that while the Boston Red Sox are "impressed with the talents of Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka, they do not expect to be contenders for his services."  Source: Boston Globe 1/4/2014

The Daily News' Bill Madden notes that the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Mariners, Angels, Rangers, Dodgers (possible), and Oakland (sleeper) could all be interested in Tanaka.  Source: Daily News 1/4/2014

ESPN has posted a couple of articles about potential landing destinations.  Andrew Marchand goes over why the Seattle Mariners could be the favorites.  Jim Bowden lists five teams with the best shots and Dan Szymborski ranks teams with the most to gain (both insider articles).

FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal mentions that the Arizona Diamondbacks could make an offer in the 140 US million dollar range (includes twenty million posting fee).  Source: ESPN 1/3/2014 via Sponichi 1/4/2014

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Andruw Jones is apparently drawing some interest from MLB teams, according to MLBDailyDish.com's Chris Cotillo.  NBCSports Hardball Talk's Bill Baer adds that the best Jones might be able to get in the United States is a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

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Former Hanshin Tiger Brooks Conrad signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres.  The deal does not include a spring training invite.  From MLB.com's Joey Nowak:

The Padres have signed 33-year-old infielder Brooks Conrad to a Minor League deal, though it does not include an invite to Major League Spring Training.

... Conrad spent last year with the Japan Central League's Hanshin Tigers, batting .175 (10-for-57) over 24 games.

Source: MLB.com 1/4/2014 via Daily Sports 1/5/2014

[8/28/2013] Nikkan Sports: Hanshin Tigers discuss options for the 2014 season

by on Aug.28, 2013 @ 6:19 pm, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers held an organizational meeting on the 27th in Tokyo to discuss potential improvements for the 2014 season.

According to Nikkan Sports, the Tigers:

  • Have their eye on KBO pitcher Seung-Hwan Oh.  If they can sign him, they see him as their closer.
  • Are interested in Rakuten Eagle Casey McGehee.  McGehee signed a one-year deal and could become available (he may also consider returning to the Majors next year).  They were initially looking into candidates that play first and third, but may shift their attention toward third basemen since Takahiro Arai has been playing well this year.  There are a number of other infielders (first baseman) on their list of candidates, like Jeff Clement and Orix Buffalo Dae-Ho Lee.
  • Are not planning to retain Brooks Conrad.  They will also most likely part ways with Robert Zarate.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/28/2013, Nikkan Sports 8/28/2013, Nikkan Sports 8/28/2013

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[5/30/2013] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on May.30, 2013 @ 11:48 pm, under NPB
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Hisashi Takayama worked out with the Ichi-gun team at Koshien today.

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/30/2013

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Brooks Conrad was taken off the active roster again because he is still struggling at the plate -- he went 1-for-7 with five strikeouts after they called him up on the 19th.

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/30/2013

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The Tigers will likely go with a closer by committee approach.  Shinobu FukuharaYuya AndoKazuya Tsutsui, and Kosuke Kato will be in the mix.  The Tigers are hopeful that Yasutomo Kubo can work out his issues and return to the active roster in the minimum ten days.

Source: Sanspo 5/30/2013Daily Sports 5/30/2013Sponichi 5/30/2013

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Blaine Boyer is scheduled to receive his work visa on the 31st (assuming no problems with the paperwork or other unexpected delays).  That could mean he pitches in his first Ni-gun game on June 1 against Orix.  If his outing goes well, he might even have a chance to join the Ichi-gun team on the following day.

Source: Sponichi 5/30/2013

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Kubo on how things are currently going for him: "I am getting hit even though I feel pretty good out there.  That means I am missing something and just need to figure it out.  I am not here to rest and recover.  I plan to make it back [to the active roster] in ten days.  I will not stop training over their ten days.  I will push myself by doing things like running and weight training."

Source: Daily Sports 5/30/2013

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[4/26/2013] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Apr.26, 2013 @ 5:33 pm, under NPB
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1st round draft pick Shintaro Fujinami threw about fifty pitches in the bullpen on Thursday in preparation for his next start on the 28th against Yokohama at Yokohama.

Source: Daily Sports 4/26/2013

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Atsushi Nomi (broken middle finger nail) started playing catch on Thursday (distance of about twenty meters).

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/25/2013

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Kenichi Tagami was taken off the active roster today.  During Thursday's game against Chunichi, Tagami made a costly base-running mistake that kept the Tigers from tying the game at one -- he entered the game as a pinch-runner at second base in the 9th inning and was thrown out at home plate after briefly slowing down between second and third to make sure pinch-hitter Kentaro Sekimoto's hit to left was really a hit.

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/26/2013

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Ni-gun game against Hiroshima on Thursday:

Minoru Iwata started started the game and gave up two runs (none earned) on six hits over seven innings of work.  He topped out at 145km/h.  Source: Daily Sports 4/26/2013Sanspo 4/26/2013 ... Brooks Conrad started at third and batted third.  He went 1-for-2 with a walk and HBP at the plate and committed a fielding error in the 4th inning.  Source: Sanspo 4/26/2013

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Sun TV broadcast their 3,000th Hanshin game on Thursday night.  The first broadcast took place on May 6, 1969 (vs Hiroshima at Koshien).

Source: Daily Sports 4/26/2013

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Naoto Tsuru turned twenty-six on Thursday.

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[4/24/2013] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Apr.24, 2013 @ 5:49 pm, under NPB
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Atsushi Nomi started Tuesday night's game against Chunichi even though he was still having problems with a broken nail.  He was taken off the active roster today to give him time to recover.

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/24/2013Nikkan Sports 4/24/2013

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The Tigers lost to the Chunichi Dragons 15-3 on Tuesday night.  Tomoyuki Kubota gave up eight runs in the 5th inning.  The last Hanshin pitcher to give up eight or more runs in a game was Kei Igawa: eight runs in the 5th against Chunichi on August 9, 2005.  The last Hanshin reliever was Makoto Yoshino: eight runs in the 8th against Yokohama on April 7, 2004.

The fifty-six pitches Kubota required to pitch the 5th was tied for fifth most in CL history.

The last time Hanshin pitchers gave up eight or more runs in one inning: eight runs in the 5th inning against Yomiuri on September 21, 2008.  The last time Hanshin pitchers gave up fifteen or more runs in one game: sixteen runs against Softbank on May 20, 2005.  Against Chunichi: fifteen runs on July 26, 2003.

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/24/2013

Kubota was taken off the active roster today.

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Tuesday's Ni-gun game against Hiroshima:

Brooks Conrad started at third and batted third.  He went 0-for-3 with a walk.  He also committed a fielding error.  Source: Nikkan Sports 4/23/2013 ... 2nd round draft pick Fumiya Hojo started at short and batted ninth.  He went 2-for-3: with the bases loaded and two out in the 2nd, he hit a two-run single to left; single to left in the 4th.  He also committed two errors.  Source: Nikkan Sports 4/23/2013

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: March 15, 2013

by on Mar.15, 2013 @ 11:55 pm, under NPB
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When Atsushi Nomi rejoins the team, he will most likely pitch in a Ni-gun game (Hiroshima series between the 26th and 28th) before he makes his first regular season start on April 2 (vs Chunichi at Kyocera Dome).

Source: Sanspo 3/15/2013Nikkan Sports 3/15/2013

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1st round draft pick Shintaro Fujinami's pitching schedule, according to Sanspo: an exhibition game on the 17th against Seibu at Seibu Dome and an exhibition game on 24th against Orix at Kyocera Dome.  First regular season start on the 31st against Yakult at Jingu.

Fujinami threw about forty pitches in the bullpen on Thursday.

Source: Sanspo 3/15/2013

Sponichi reports a slightly different schedule: an exhibition game on the 17th against Seibu at Seibu Dome and a Ni-gun game on the 27th against Hiroshima.  First regular season start on April 4 against Chunichi at Kyocera Dome.  After that, he would get starts at Koshien Stadium: Yokohama on the 12th, Yakult on the 20th, and Hiroshima on the 29th.

Fujinami threw forty-one pitches in the bullpen on Thursday.

Source: Sponichi 3/15/2013

Nikkan Sports agrees with Sanspo: Fujinami will make his first regular season start against Yakult on the 31st.

The Tigers are also thinking about merchandising opportunities stemming from his first official pro start.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/15/2013

Daily Sports agrees with the Sanspo: Fujinami will make starts on the 17th (vs Seibu) and 24th (vs Orix) before his first regular season start on the 31st (vs Yakult).

Fujinami will be allowed to throw about eighty pitches on the 17th.

Source: Daily Sports 3/15/2013

Sports Hochi also thinks Fujinami will make his first regular season start on the 31st.

Source: Sports Hochi 3/15/2013

Since the introduction of the draft in 1965, four first-year pitchers have started the fourth game of the season -- Toshiaki Moriyasu (1966), Mikio Kudo (1979), Daisuke Matsuzaka (1999), and Hideaki Wakui (2005).  None have started a game any earlier than that.

Yutaka Enatsu holds the current franchise record with the sixth start of the season in 1967.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/15/2013

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Takahiro Arai is scheduled to play in three Kyoiku League games against Chunichi, beginning on the 16th.

Source: Daily Sports 3/15/2013

Yutaka Wada told reporters on Thursday that they will not rush the elder Arai and will call him up once he is 100% ready.  Until then, the younger Arai will be the clean-up hitter.

Source: Sports Hochi 3/15/2013

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Top team officials, including president Nobuo Minami, director Eiichi TakanoYutaka Wada, and head coach Masahiro Kuroda, met on Wednesday for about two hours to talk about current team needs.  The group confirmed that pitching is still a major concern and that the front office should be looking for a pitcher on the foreign market that can start and relieve.  The team already has a list of possible candidates.  GM Katsuhiro Nakamura is expected to travel to the US once the regular season starts to check on player availability.

Source: Sanspo 3/15/2013

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Batting coach Koichi Sekikawa helped Brooks Conrad make adjustments to his swing -- he was apparently lunging a little when shifting his weight, especially from the right-side.

Source: Sanspo 3/15/2013

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: March 12, 2013

by on Mar.13, 2013 @ 3:00 am, under NPB
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With Samurai Japan heading to the US for the Championship Round, there is  very good chnce Randy Messenger will get the opening day start.  If he does, will join Matt Keough (1987) and Gene Bacque (1965) as the only foreign pitchers in franchise history to get opening day starts.

Source: Sponichi 3/12/2013Sports Hochi 3/12/2013

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Ryota Imanari was called up to Ichi-gun on Tuesday.

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013

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Brooks Conrad watched a few sumo matches with his wife at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (Body Maker Colosseum) on Monday.

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013

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The media learned that Ryohei Hashimoto (24) filed marriage papers with a twenty-four-year-old woman living from Osaka on Sunday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/12/2013

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Kosuke Fukudome's Sanspo Tigers' Promise: record a walk-off hit during the season.

If he does not make good on his promise, he will present one family (up to four people) with tickets to a Yoshimoto Shinkigeki performance.  If he makes good on the promise, Sanspo owes him a top-of-the-line putter.

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013

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ABC TV will be using a high-speed camera for all their Hanshin games this season (it was just Yomiuri games last season).

Source: Sanspo 3/12/2013

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: March 1, 2013

by on Mar.01, 2013 @ 11:57 pm, under NPB
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The team visited Hirota Shine in Nishinomiya, Hyogo today to pray for a successful season.

About 1,300 fans showed up to watch the Tigers.  That is up from the 800 they drew last year.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/1/2013, Sanspo 3/1/2013

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GM Katsuhiro NakamuraYutaka Wada, and head coach Masahiro Kuroda are planning to hold weekly update meeting throughout the year.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/1/2013

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Kosuke Fukudome took fifty-eight swings during batting practice at Koshien on Thursday and hit two over the fence.

Source: Daily Sports 3/1/2013

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Brooks Conrad is scheduled to play in both practice games over the weekend (vs Orix on Saturday and vs Seibu on Sunday).

Conrad is a switch-hitter that uses two separate batting helmets instead of one with ear flaps on each side.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

Conrad recently received a new set of bats.  Up to now, he used bats made of white ash, but decided to give maple a try.  He also increased the weight of the bat by ten grams.

Source: Daily Sports 3/1/2013

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1st round draft pick Shintaro Fujinami is scheduled to pitch on Saturday.  Numbered tickets for the game will be handed out to fans at a tent in front of Aki Dome at 8:00am.  Stadium gates are scheduled to open at 11:00am.  Security patrols will begin at 5:00am.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

All of the team's top players will be available on Saturday when Fujinami pitches.  That includes Tsuyoshi NishiokaKosuke FukudomeMatt Murton, and Conrad.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

Fujinami threw forty-fives pitches in the bullpen today.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

There is a chance Fujinami could make his starts on the weekends on six days of rest before the start of the regular season.  That would mean: Orix on March 2, Nippon Ham on March 9, Lotte on March 16, and Orix on March 23.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/1/2013

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4th round draft pick Shinya Azuhata was sent down to Ni-gun on Thursday.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

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Ryuma Matsuda's workouts on Thursday included light catch and fielding practice.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

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The Tigers see no need for Hiroki Uemoto to rush back from an ankle injury, especially since one of his greatest strengths is his speed.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

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US-based scout Jeff Williams was in the stands for the Dodgers-Cubs game on the 27th.  His area of concentration right now is Arizona.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

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Former Hanshin Tiger Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi failed his minor league tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Former Yokohama Bay Star Takahiro Matsuka also failed to make the cut.

Shimoyanagi did make it past the first round (bullpen session) and faced two batters during the second round (BB, Ks).

Over 200 players attended the tryout.  Only one player made the cut.

Source: Sanspo 3/1/2013

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: February 27, 2013

by on Feb.27, 2013 @ 11:47 pm, under NPB
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Randy Messenger could make his first start of the year on April 2 against Chunichi at Kyocera Dome.   After that, he will probably pitch on six days of rest and face the Yomiuri Giants twice and the Chunichi Dragons once over the rest of the month.

Source: Sanspo 2/27/2013

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Takahiro Arai started swinging the bat a little harder during soft-toss batting practice on Tuesday.  If everything is ok, he could begin throwing and fielding grounders outdoors when he returns to Naruohama on March 1.

Source: Sanspo 2/27/2013

Arai took thirty-four swings against a pitching machine (fastballs) today.  It was his first session against a machine since the 13th.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/27/2013

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Brooks Conrad ran through a stop sign in the 5th inning and scored.  Third base coach Haruki Yoshitake was not particularly happy about it, but did find some good and said, "Results can not be the only thing that matters during the season.  But we did learn that Conrad has speed."

And Conrad on the play: "I ended up scoring a run there.  I did not ignore the sign, it was my mistake.  So long as the coach says stop, then I have to stop.  I will do my best to make sure it does not happen again."

Source: Sanspo 2/27/2013Daily Sports 2/27/2013

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1st round draft pick Shintaro Fujinami is slated to make his first pro outing on March 2 against Orix at Aki Stadium.  He expected to start and pitch two innings.  Since it is a practice game, admission will be free.  Aki City is worried about crowd control and is thinking about increasing security around the stadium and handing out numbered tickets to fans.

Fujinami's workouts at Koshien today lasted about two and a half hours and included a bullpen session (about fifty pitches), batting practice, and running.

Source: Sanspo 2/27/2013Daily Sports 2/27/2013Daily Sports 2/27/2013

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: February 19, 2013

by on Feb.19, 2013 @ 11:31 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Today

  • Ryota Arai: 178 swings, twenty-three over the fence

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/19/2013

Today

  • 1st round draft pick Shintaro Fujinami: batting practice, faced Issei Morita (only fastballs,one over the fence) and 4th round draft pick Shinya Azuhata (fastballs and sliders, broke  bat), thirty-two pitches, two could-be hits

Source: Sponichi 2/19/2013, Nikkan Sports 2/19/2013, Sanspo 2/19/2013

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Kosuke Fukudome took some grounders at short during fielding practices today.  This does not mean he will be playing short -- this is just something he likes to do to help him prepare.

Fukudome began his career as a shortstop with the Chunichi Dragons.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/19/2013

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Takahiro Arai is Yutaka Wada's top choice to bat clean-up.  But if Arai is needs more time for rehab (right shoulder, back), then Takashi Toritani and Ryota Arai are possibilities.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/19/2013

Brooks Conrad could be another possibility.

Source: Sports Hochi 2/19/2013

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1st round draft pick Shintaro Fujinami and his parents visited three former high school teammates -- Gen Mizumoto, Satoshi Mega, and Minoru Hirohata -- at Asia University spring camp in Shimajiri, Okinawa on the team's day off on Monday.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/19/2013

Wada wants to check on Fujinami's pitches from the batter's box.

Source: Daily Sports 2/19/2013

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Conrad's Sanspo Promise: record one of every kind of hit from both the left and right side of the plate.

If he makes good on the promise, Sanspo will present him with children's clothing from Miki House.

Source: Sanspo 2/19/2013

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