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[7/29/2013] Softbank Hawks: Kazumi Saito to step down as rehab coach

by on Jul.29, 2013 @ 3:20 pm, under NPB
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The Softbank Hawks announced today that Kazumi Saito will give up on his comeback and step down as rehab coach.

You can find footage of the press conference at the Softbank Hawks' Ustream channelPart 1Part 2

Source: official announcement, Nikkan Sports 7/29/2013


Some notes taken from various news sources:

  • Saito turned down the organization's suggestion for a retirement game.
  • He threw forty to fifty pitches in the bullpen on Sunday.
  • He got back to the point where he was able to toss 100 pitches during bullpen sessions, but failed to make it up to the next step -- he could not throw more than two bullpens a week.
  • The Hawks were reportedly prepared to allow him to continue with his rehab next season while working as a rehab coach.  They did inform him that they had no plans to place him on the seventy-man roster this year.
  • He decided during the off-season that if he did not make the seventy-man roster before the end of the July 31 deadline this year, he would call it quits.

"I am really grateful for the organization's support.  There are no teams that would give a pitcher that has not thrown a pitch in six years an opportunity to try for a comeback.  That is also the reason why I do not want to drag this out any longer," said Saito.

Source: Sponichi 7/29/2013Sports Hochi 7/29/2013Daily Sports 7/29/2013


(continue reading...)

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[7/26/2013] Injury Updates: Ibata (Chunichi), Fukudome (Hanshin), K. Saito (Softbank), Lee (Orix)

by on Jul.26, 2013 @ 6:29 pm, under NPB
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Chunichi Dragons

Hirokazu Ibata was taken off the active roster today with pain in hie right ankle.  According to the Dragons, he has been battling pain in his right ankle for over three months -- it reportedly started when he was hit by a pitch during a Yomiuri game on April 7.

Source: Daily Sports 7/26/2013

Hanshin Tigers

Kosuke Fukudome (left knee) added slides to his workouts on Thursday -- he ran from first and slid into second four times.  He also spent twenty-five minutes taking indoor batting practice against a pitching machine.

Source: Sanspo 7/26/2013, Daily Sports 7/26/2013

Softbank Hawks

Rehab coach Kazumi Saito (right shoulder) is scheduled to sit down with team officials at some point over the next few days to discuss his plans and goals.  Saito has been attempting to make a comeback after struggling with right shoulder problems that required a labrum surgery in 2008 and a rotator cuff surgery in 2010.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/26/2013

Orix Buffaloes

Dae-Ho Lee is apparently feeling a little run down (fatigued).  He switched to a bat that was about ten grams lighter than usual for Thursday's game against Nippon Ham.

"Honestly, I feel tired.  I have not been able to rest.  That is why I moved to a bat five to ten grams lighter than usual," said Lee.

Source: Daily Sports 7/26/2013, Sponichi 7/26/2013

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Softbank Hawks: February 16, 2012

by on Feb.16, 2012 @ 11:42 pm, under NPB
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Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice


  • Tadashi Settsu faced Seiichi Uchikawa and Nobuhiko Matsunaka during batting practice and allowed fourteen hits on sixty-one pitches. (Daily Sports)
  • Kazuyuki Hoashi faced Wily Mo Pena and Alex Cabrera during batting practice and allowed four could-be hits on forty-six pitches. (Nikkan Sports)
  • Rehab coach Kazumi Saito threw thirty-two pitches in the bullpen.  He also had the catcher stand on one knee. (Nikkan Sports)



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


Brad Penny wanted to pitch on four days of rest instead of six days of rest.


Koji Akiyama spent over an hour giving Kenta Imamiya hitting advice on Wednesday -- forty minutes on how to use his lower body while hitting off a tee and about another thirty minutes after full squad bunt practices.


Takehito Kanazawa canceled his bullpen session on Wednesday because he was feeling tightness in his lower back.  He also did not participate in fielding practice and instead focused on stretches and getting massages.  He is basically day-to-day.


Toru Hosokawa caught Hiroyuki Kawahara's bullpen session on Wednesday and later advised the 20-year-old to make adjustments to how he throws the curve because he might be tipping the pitch to batters.

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Softbank Hawks: January 29, 2012

by on Jan.29, 2012 @ 11:43 pm, under NPB
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Wily Mo Pena and Brian Falkenborg were scheduled to arrive in Fukuoka today.  Their flight arrived at 8:30pm but only Falkenborg stepped off the plane.  Pena ended up arriving about two and a half hours later -- he missed his connecting flight to Fukuoka because his plane arrived at Narita (out of Chicago) about 50 minutes behind schedule.


Training camp for the 2011 draft class at the Saitozaki training facilities ended today.


Seiichi Uchikawa (29) made an appearance on FBS' Yumekukan Sports today and was asked if he wanted to play in the Majors.  His reply: "The moment I joined the Hawks, I decided I would finish things out here."


Edison Barrios arrived at Fukuoka Airport today (Venezuela > Narita > Fukuoka) and told reporters that he has been tossing bullpen sessions on a regular basis after two months of winter ball in Venezuela.


Rehab coach Kazumi Saito (34) will attend spring camp in Miyazaki for the first time in three years.

Saito extended his coaching contract with the team on Saturday.


Nobuhiko Matsunaka (38) on his role with the team:

I used to think about winning a championship while batting clean-up, but my view of the game starting changing last year.  [Yuichi] Honda, [Nobuhiro] Matsuda, [Seiichi] Uchikawa.  I will let them take care of the team.  I just want to play well over the remaining time I have left [in my career].  I think that will help the team.  I will play [with the excitement] as if I were a kid.


Bullpen sessions:


Nagisa Arakaki threw about 40 pitches to a standing catcher.  He told reporters he plans to throw about 100 pitches a session during spring camp.

1st round draft pick Shota Takeda tossed a bullpen session with a squatting catcher.

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Softbank Hawks News and Notes: December 31, 2010

by on Dec.31, 2010 @ 10:51 pm, under NPB
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Toshiya Sugiuchi and Kazumi Saito closed out their training for the year on Thursday.

Sugiuchi: I'll spend New Year's Day with my wife's family and then we'll go back to my family on the 2nd.  We'll also go to Hatsumode.

Sugiuchi worked out for about an hour and a half (playing catch and running sprints).

Saito: I'm still figuring things out [with the coaching side of things].  And there are plenty of things I'll probably find out as I get into it.  I don't think it'll affect my rehab training.

And regarding Saito's rehab, he spent about 4 hours practicing at Yahoo Dome on Thursday.  He also played catch at a distance of about 35 meters.

Said Saito, "35 meters?  I haven't really been able to extend that [distance] lately.  Good progress?  I don't really have a sense for what good progress is, so I'm not really sure."

Saito is hoping to hold a bullpen session sometime in late February.


Toru Hosokawa is planning on actively reaching out to the younger pitchers during spring camp next year so that he can get to know them better.


The Hawks won't be giving Alex Cabrera any special treatment (assuming he signs as planned) with regards to spring camp -- they'll expect him to be in attendance from day 1 and current plans have him returning to Japan in late January.  Over the 10 years he's played in Japan, Cabrera has only been to the start of spring camp twice (2001 and 2010).

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Softbank Hawks News and Notes: November 22, 2010

by on Nov.22, 2010 @ 10:13 pm, under NPB
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The Softbank Hawks held a press conference earlier today to announce Kazumi Saito's reassignment as a rehab coach.  The Hawks have also posted a video from the press conference at their official site.

Incidentally, Saito is now able to play catch at a distance of about 25 meters for about 15 minutes.


The Hawks announced today that Kenji Akashi will have surgery on his left foot on the 24th.  Akashi will likely require a 1-week hospital stay before he's allowed to leave and begin his rehab.


The Hawks held their final meeting / gathering of the year at a hotel in Fukuoka earlier today.

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Softbank Hawks: Houlton to start game 3 of Final Stage?

by on Oct.04, 2010 @ 11:32 pm, under NPB
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It seems Dennis Houlton may end up starting game 3 of the Final Stage.  During full squad practice on Sunday at Yahoo Dome, Houlton tossed 54 pitches in the bullpen in an effort to show that his right adductor muscle was fine.  Assuming no setbacks, Houlton will probably start a Phoenix League game on the 9th against Seibu.  If he does fine there, Houlton will likely start game 3 of the Final Stage, behind Toshiya Sugiuchi and Tsuyoshi Wada.

Houlton was taken off the active roster on 9/1 with discomfort in his right adductor muscle.  He did manage to make another Ichi-gun start on 9/20 against Seibu, but lasted only 2 innings and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits (including 2 homers).


Kazumi Saito started playing catch again earlier today (10/4).  It was his first game of catch since January this year.  Saito spent about 10 minutes throwing the ball 80 times at distance of about 15 meters.  Saito is hoping to be ready to pitch again next year.


Hitoshi Tamura started working with weights again on Sunday.  He also took BP and told reporters that he wasn't feeling quite right at the plate, but also wasn't worried because he didn't want to peak too soon before the start of the Climax Series.

Kazumi Saito unsure if he wants to sign an Ikusei contract

by on Oct.03, 2010 @ 5:51 pm, under NPB
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Kazumi Saito (SOF) sat down with team director Itaru Kobayashi the other day at Ginnosu Stadium for about 40 minutes.  It seems the two sides discussed a number of things, including the possibility of whether or not Saito would sign an Ikusei contract.  And according to Saito, talks of an Ikusei contract with the club first sprang up back in August.

This is a tough choice for Saito, since turning down the offer either means he retires and quits, or leaves the team to find employment with another club.  Making the decision even more complicated for Saito is the fact that he hasn't pitched an Ichi-gun game in three years.  And while Saito was hesitant about signing an Ikusei contract at first, it seems he isn't quite as opposed to the idea as he used to be.

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Softbank: Sugiuchi to start on 4-days of rest during Final Stage

by on Oct.03, 2010 @ 4:20 am, under NPB
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Toshiya Sugiuchi will likely start game one of the Final Stage.  If the Hawks are tied 3-3 on the 19th (last game of the Final Stage), it seems the Hawks might be willing to give Sugiuchi that start as well (4 days of rest).

In other team-related news:

The Hawks may re-sign Kazumi Saito to an Ikusei contract.  Saito had right shoulder surgery in February (3rd time total over his career) and is scheduled to begin playing catch again on 10/4.  Saito has not pitched in a Ni-gun game since 2007.

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