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Hanshin Tigers: Keisuke Kano diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc

by on Mar.10, 2011 @ 3:07 pm, under NPB
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Keisuke Kano was went to a hospital yesterday with pain his his lower back and was diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc (腰椎椎間板ヘルニア).  Kano is scheduled to return to Naruohama for his rehab.  Seems there's a good chance Kano will be out for a little while.

Kano just had surgery on a herniated disc back on 11/11/2010.

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CL News and Notes: Kanemoto and Jojima still on course to begin playing in games on the 12th

by on Mar.09, 2011 @ 2:59 pm, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers

Keisuke Kano was held out of today's exhibition game against the Rakuten Eagles due to lower back pains.  Kano started feeling the pains in the morning and could not take part in pre-game practice.  The Tigers aren't sure whether or not he'll require a hospital visit and are currently monitoring his situation.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto played catch at a max distance of 30 meters during practice yesterday.  He also worked out in left a little.  Kanemoto is still on course to be a DH in an exhibition game against the Chunichi Dragons on the 12th.

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Kenji Jojima worked on his sliding during pre-game practice today (first time since his surgery) -- he first started with slides on the outfield grass (4 times) before running from first and sliding into second (2 times).  As of now, it seems he'll be able to return to playing in games on the 12th.

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Takumi Akiyama appears to have secured another Ichi-gun exhibition game outing after a solid start against the Seibu Lions yesterday (he tossed a shutout over 4 innings of work).

Yomiuri Giants

Up until Hisayoshi Chono hit a homer in the 6th last night, the Giants had gone 76 innings without a home run.

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Tetsuya Matsumoto did not play in yesterday's exhibition game against the Softbank Hawks due to a fever (cold).  Matsumoto went to a hospital earlier in the day yesterday and was doing better.  According to head coach Kaoru Okazaki, Matsumoto should be able to start practicing again today.

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Tetsuya Utsumi threw 98 pitches in the bullpen on Monday.

Yakult Swallows

Yoshinori Sato did not make his scheduled Ikusei League start yesterday due to a pain in his neck.  Yoshinori has been complaining of neck pains since the 6th.  It's doesn't appear to be serious (slept on it weird), but the team canceled his start as a pre-caution and instead had Yoshinori get treatment for the neck.

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As of the end of play yesterday, Wladimir Balentien was 3-for-21 with 10 strikeouts.

Hiroshima Carp

A wall featuring images of Carp players (located between Hiroshima Station and Mazda Stadium) was unveiled today.  The following 20 members of the team are featured on the wall: Kenjiro Nomura, Tomonori Maeda, Akihiro Higashide, Kenta Kurihara, Eishin Soyogi, Takahiro Iwamoto, Jumpei Shinoda, Kan Otake, Kenta Maeda, Katsuhiro Nagakawa, Yuki Saito, Ryuji Yokoyama, Takuro Ishii, Jun Hirose, Yoshiyuki Ishihara, Yoshikazu Kura, Masato Akamatsu, Soichiro Amaya, Shigenobu Shima, and Shogo Kimura.

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: January 8, 2011

by on Jan.08, 2011 @ 5:30 pm, under NPB
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Tomoaki Kanemoto worked on his upper for about 2 hours on Friday morning.  After a break, he spent some more time in the training room in the afternoon, before doing some shadow pitching (he was able to raise his right arm).  Kanemoto also took some BP (about 30 swings).

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Keisuke Kano worked out at Naruohama on Friday.  Kano has surgery on his back in November last year and is still in the process of rehabbing it.  On Friday, he played catch outdoors for the first time since the surgery.  Kano also did some light running.

"May back is fine," said Kano.  "I started throwing a little around New Year's and I have also started swinging the bat."

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Atsushi Nomi will be taking Kentaro Sekimoto and Shinji Koymiyama to Okinawa with him so that he can begin pitching to live batters.  Nomi started pitching to live batters during his workouts in January 2 years ago (before the 2009 season) and hasn't stopped since.

Said Nomi, "I'll air out the arm first, then mix in my off-speed pitches.  After that, I'll pitch in a simulated game from the 1 inning.  I'll probably be throwing at about 80%."

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Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi's training has been moving along at a fairly quick pace this winter.  So much so that he told reporters he planned on holding a bullpen session next week.

On Friday, he worked on his lower body for about 2 hours and then spent parts of the afternoon throwing the ball around (about 50 pitches at around 25 meters).

Shimoyanagi usually spends his early winter working on his lower, but this winter, he started throwing the ball around in late November.  The reason isn't clear, but it seems it has something to do with both the new regulation ball and the fact that he wants to help the team win the CL.

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Shinobu Fukuhara worked out at the Koshien clubhouse on Friday.  Fukuhara will be continue his workouts at Koshien until the start of spring camp.

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Akinobu Mayumi was a guest on Mainchi Broadcasting's Seyanen and came up with this line-up for 2011: Matt Murton, Keiichi Hirano, Takashi Toritani, Takahiro Arai, Tomoaki Kanemot, Craig Brazell, Kenji Jojima, Shunsuke Fujikawa, pitcher.

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The Hanshin Tigers are thinking about holding both the Ichi-gun and Ni-gun camps in Okinawa next year.  One possible location for their Ni-gun spring camp appears to be a town called Kin.  The town is also in the process of building a new stadium that should be complete in the fall (the dirt and grass are similar to Koshien, but slightly larger at 100m to left and right and 122m to center).  Team president Nobuo Minami told reporters that if an NPB team was going to use the new facilities, it may as well be the Tigers.

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: December 27, 2010

by on Dec.27, 2010 @ 7:28 pm, under NPB
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The Tigers could carry 3-4 catchers once Kenji Jojima is ready to join the active roster.

Said a club rep, "[We'll need to be] really careful with the way we use Jojima when he makes it back.  It won't be a full return until 2012.  We also don't think he'll be able to stay behind the plate over the course of a full game for a little, and that means we might need 2-3 catchers a game."

The rep continued, "It's the location of the injury [he's coming back from].  We'll be in trouble if he injures it again.  I'm guessing he won't be able to catch anymore.  But Jojima's the type to put the team's victory in front of himself.  So he'll get out there and play, but we'll need to hold him back."

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Craig Brazell apparently asked the Koshien groundskeepers to pack the dirt around first base tighter next season after having it softened this past season due to knee problems he had in 2009.

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Yuya Ando closed out his training at Naruohama on Sunday.  Ando won't be returning home to Oita for the New Year in order to continue his workouts in the Kansai area.

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Kosuke Kato dropped by Naruohama on Sunday and told reporters that he'll be heading to Arizona for his training in January.

"I want my ERA in the 2's, at worst," said Kato.  "I want to be prepared to throw in 60-70 games.  I want to fulfill my potential and get it all out there over a the course of a full season."

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Shunsuke Ishikawa (right elbow surgery) closed out his rehab training at Naruohama on Sunday.  Ishikawa told reporters that he doesn't plan to head home for the New Year and will instead rent out some space in Hyogo to continue his training.

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Shinji Komiyama is hoping to catch every pitcher on the staff during spring camp in order build a solid foundation.

Said Komiyama, "Up until now, I've only been to Ichi-gun camp once (2007) and I have a hard time asking players above me if I can catch them.  But I can't be like that anymore.  I need to be more proactive."

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Kodai Sakurai (right elbow surgery) started throwing into a net (about 15 minutes) during his rehab training on Sunday at Naruohama.

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Keisuke Kano worked out at Naruohama on Sunday.  He still plans on approaching the 2011 season with the mindset of being a catcher (even if it's technically secondary to playing the OF).

Said Kano, "I'll be bringing my catcher's mitt with me and I'll practice there as well.  I'll also get myself into the battery meetings.  It's my life and I don't want any regrets."

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Due to fan demand: Takumi Akiyama merchandise (like uniforms, towels, and mobile phone straps) will go on sale at the end of FebruaryKen Nishimura, and Shunsuke Fujikawa merchandise will also go sale.

The Tigers don't usually create merchandise branded after rookies out of high school (and under 20).  A club rep told reporters that he couldn't remember the last time a player out of high school actually had any merchandise with their name on.

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: December 19, 2010

by on Dec.19, 2010 @ 5:51 pm, under NPB
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Matt Murton has picked up a new black glove to go along with his cork-colored glove (Amer Sports, Wilson Division -- seems they also made gloves for Greg Maddux and Barry Bonds at the same Akune factory).  He may also change his bat color from black to gray (Old Hickory via i Sports).  The size, shape, and weight of each will most likely remain the same.

Murton has also been working out near his Florida home, primarily with weights -- about 5 hours a day at 5 days a week.  He may also workout with fellow Georgia Tech alums Mark Teixeira (NYY) and Matt Wieters (BAL) later this winter.

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Wei-Chu Lin's new bat, based on an Seiichi Uchikawa model bat that has a slightly thinner handle, arrived in Naruohama on Saturday.  Lin will now use the winter to get used to the new bat

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The Hanshin Tigers are thinking of making their exhibition game against the Rakuten Eagles on 3/9 at Koshien Stadium Keiichi Yabu's retirement game.

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Yasutomo Kubo will be undertaking a new kind training program that will apparently make him use parts of his body he isn't used to using, like using his non-dominant hand to throw the ball, to improve his motor reflexes/skills.  Shinjiro Hiyama is apparently helping Kubo with the training.

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Daiki Kiyohara will be meeting with Kei Igawa for some dinner during the off-season.  Depending on their schedules, they might be able to work out together again for the first time since 2009.

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With the addition of Daiki Enokida (1st round), the Tigers now have three Fukuoka University grads on the team Hirokazu Shiranita and Yuhei Kai are the other two.

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Kyuji Fujikawa's advice to the younger catchers on the team: take pitchers out to dinner and gain their trust.  Fujikawa also apparently believes that Keisuke Kano is better suited as a catcher.

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Shunsuke Fujikawa was a guest on Mainichi Broadcasting Systems radio program MBS Toragumi Tigers Live on Saturday.  He told listeners he didn't have any plans of taking breaks during the off-season (he wants to break the starting line-up) and he also hasn't thought about playing in the Majors (he's a lifetime Tiger).

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: December 17, 2010

by on Dec.17, 2010 @ 10:23 am, under NPB
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Kenji Jojima had his second post-op exam on Thursday and was cleared to come off the crutches (about 2 weeks earlier than initially planned). Jojima also dropped by the Koshien clubhouse to go over data from the 2010 season and to begin working on plans for the 2011 season.

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Keisuke Kano recently sat down with head coach Katsuhiko Kido and finally received permssion from the Tigers to work out at as both a catcher and an outfielder next season.  While Kano's main focus will be his conversion to an outfielder, he'll also continue to catch whenever he can (since it would be a waste to throw that experience away).

Kano had back surgery on 11/11 and has been making good progress -- he started swinging a bat on the 9th.

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Ryo Asai is looking forward to working out with Satoru Kanemura this winter.  Asai will be joining Shinjiro Hiyama in Guam in January, the same location where the Samsung Lions will be working out.

Said Asai, "Samsung always works out in the same place that Hiyama spends his winter.  It'll only be a brief amount of time in the beginning, but I'm hoping it'll work out."

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With the Hanshin Tigers signing a 1-year extension with Randy Messenger, they now have 68 players on the 70-man roster.  GM Shoji Numasawa told reporters that the club was more or less finished signing foreign players for the time being.  They will apparently continue to look into Hideki Okajima.

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Tomoyuki Kubota was a guest on ABC Radio's Sports-ni Pitatto on Thursday and said he wanted to break Jeff Williams' NPB record of 141 career holds next season.  Kubota is currently sitting on 110 (good for second on the all-time list behind Williams). ... Kentaro Sekimoto and Ken Nishimura visited the children's ward of the Kobe University Hospital on Thursday.  Nishimura spoke of three keys to his success next season: improving himself physically by doing a better job of maintain his weight; re-evaluate pitching plans by looking over the data; and working on pitching that have some drop, like a fork ball.

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: December 1, 2010

by on Dec.01, 2010 @ 12:50 pm, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers closed out their extended Ni-gun camp taking place at Naruohama on Tuesday.  Part of the final day of camp included a 3,500 meter run.  Seems Ni-gun manager Haruki Yoshitake is planning on starting spring camp with the same exact run to see if the properly worked out during the winter (they'll be checking for changes in finish times).

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Batting coach Yutaka Wada told reporters that he thought it might be better to bat Matt Murton out of the 5 hole in the line-up next season.  It seems Wada thinks that 5 hole will become a very important spot in the line-up next year, especially with the new NPB regulation baseball.

Said Wada, "With the ball changing, we might not be able to hit as many home runs and extra bases as we did this year.  It would be nice if we can keep the line-up we used this season...  But over the last few years we've had trouble finding a good number 5 hitter.  Ideally, we'd like a player that could be a "cushion".  Murton could be that player."

In other words, he wants to avoid having Craig Brazell, Takahiro Arai, and Kenji Jojima clumped together in the line-up.  Wada's ideal 5 hitter can drive in runs, create scoring opportunities, and extend innings.

Tomoaki Kanemoto also appears to be an option for the 5 hole (while the above is based on a Sanspo article, Daily Sports is carrying a version that's pushing Kanemoto for the 5 spot).

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Naoto Tsuru finished moving his stuff out of the players dorm.  Seems he got his own place.

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Keisuke Kano thinks he could provide the team with the most value to the team by being both an outfielder and catcher next season, even though the club wants him to focus on playing the outfield (and enforced further with the addition of Akihito Fujii).

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Shunsuke Fujikawa was a police chief for a day on Tuesday.  Fujikawa is trying to get used to eating more.  While Fujikawa ended the season at the same weight he started the season at (70kg), he also lost 3kgs during the summer months.  In addition to the eating, Fujikawa is also hoping to bulk up a bit more, and pointed to how Kanemoto and Takashi Toritani arrived to practice early during the season in order to lift weights.

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Former Hanshin Tiger Norihiro Akahoshi is holding a charity auction (12/1 - 12/10) with the help of 7 other active players: Naohisa SugiyamaShinobu Fujihara, Shunsuke Fujikawa, Atsushi Fujimoto, Keiji Obiki, Osamu Hamanaka, and Takahiro Okada.

Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: November 20, 2010

by on Nov.20, 2010 @ 2:13 pm, under NPB
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Keisuke Kano had surgery on his back and is hoping he'll be ready for the start of the 2011 season.  While not entirely related to his surgery, Kano told reporters yesterday that the club hasn't told him whether they wanted him to catch or play the outfield yet and that he also hasn't approached the club regarding that topic either.

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Kodai Sakurai started his rehabbing his right elbow yesterday at Naruohama.  He spent about 3 hours getting treament.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto made a surprise visit to Shinsei Boxing Gym on Friday to see pro boxer Hozumi Hasegawa.  Kanemoto had a chance to watch Hasegawa spar and said, "I can't really tell whether or not he was having a good day, but it all made a very last impression.  I'd like to try [sparring] once my shoulder heals."

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The Hanshin Tigers released their 2011 logo and team slogan on Friday.  Their slogan from this year, "Focus on this play, this moment!!", will apparently remain the same.  You can view the logo at the official team site.

Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: November 12, 2010

by on Nov.12, 2010 @ 1:48 pm, under NPB
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Yusuke Kawasaki is apparently working on a new side-armed delivery during fall camp.

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Robert Zarate tossed 52 pitches in the bullpen at Naruohama on Thursday (throwing fastballs at first and then mixing in his other pitches).

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The Tigers held a long-distance run on the last day of the third block of fall camp.  The run apparently consisted of running around a hilly 500 meter course 8 times.  12 pitchers took part in the run and Takumi Akiyama finished in first with a time of 21 minutes; Naoto Tsuru finished in second.

Prior to the run, Akiyama also tossed 54 pitches in the bullpen.

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Keisuke Kano had back surgery on Thursday.  Kano apparently felt some discomfort in his back during a Phoenix League game on 10/10 and was taken off the active roster.  Kano originally started doing some rehab training on the back, but after things didn't improve, the trainers and Kano decided it would be best for him to have the surgery.

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Keiichi Hirano made good on his Sanspo Promise to hit at least one homer and win one award after he was named a Golden Glove winner yesterday.  Hirano also turned down the 50,000 yen gift certificate he won by fulfilling the promise and asked that Sanspo donate the money to charity.

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Kyuji Fujikawa, Shinjiro Hiyama, Kentaro Sekimoto, and Takashi Toritani are expected to take part in an event called Hinokibutai Charity Event 2010: The Tatejima Spirit at Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel on 11/23.  The admittance fee will be 32,000 yen.

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The Tigers are thinking about running a drawing contest for kids where winners will get free tickets to a home game at Koshien Stadium next season.  The topic: Craig Brazell.

The original idea for the contest took shape in September.  At that point, Brazell said, "I'd like to invite one kid to Koshien next year for every home run I hit this year.  And I'll pick them by reading letters they've sent to me telling me just how hard their working.  Like how hard they're studying or how hard they're helping around the house.  Anything really."

More recently, the club decided it might be best to go with drawings to open the contest up to younger kids and to make it easier for Brazell to judge.

Since Brazell has yet to formally re-sign with the club, the details for the contest likely won't be hammered out until after a contract has been signed.

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