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Hanshin Tigers announce their signing of Kosuke Kato

by on Dec.03, 2010 @ 5:52 pm, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers announced that they signed Yokohama Bay Stars senryokugai Kosuke Kato today.  He was assigned the number 63.  No word on the actual contract.

In other related news:

Atsushi Nomi met with the club today for a meeting that lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.  No word on what the Tigers offered, but Nomi did end up putting the Tigers on hold.  Seems Nomi was interested in finding out what the Tigers thought about his season and the injury (fractured cuneiform bone) that kept him out for 4 months and limited him to just 12 games.

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: December 2, 2010

by on Dec.02, 2010 @ 1:41 pm, under NPB
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Takahiro Arai's schedule this month is apparently packed with a bunch of events he needs to attend.  He told reporters that he still hasn't been able to do any serious training and that he doesn't know when he'll be able to head to Hiroshima for his usual workouts.  Arai also added that he had to be careful about injuring himself and didn't want to rush things.

Arai also mentioned that he was going to start swinging the bat this month and that he was hoping to reach 160kg with his squats.

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Tomoyuki Kubota told reporters that he doesn't plan on throwing a lot during spring camp, at least not as much as he did during spring camp last year.

Said Kubota, "I will probably throw everyday.  I just won't be trying to hit a certain number of pitches, like a 150."

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Tomoaki Kanemoto ramped up his training at Naruohama on Wednesday.  With a kaatsu training belt wrapped around his right arm, Kanemoto ran dashes and also spent some time working out outdoors.

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Akinobu Mayumi is hoping veteran catcher Akihito Fujii will be able to help out some of the pitchers that may have run into brick walls with their development.

Fujii also told reporters that he plans on being the starting catcher on opening day (3/25), in addition to the starting catcher for the team's first practice game during spring camp (2/13, although it seems another game might be scheduled before that).

Incidentally, Mayumi also told reporters on Wednesday that the team can't rule out with 100% certainty that Kenji Jojima won't be ready for the start of the season.  And if that's true, then Fujii will be competing with Jojima for the starting catcher's job.

According to team officials, Jojima provided the club with his latest progress report on 11/30.

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Kyuji Fujikawa will be heading to Hawaii later this month for training.  He also doesn't plan on doing any throwing for the rest of this year (he notes the hiccups he experienced toward the end of the season as a reason to take a step back and take things slow) and will instead focus on basic training exercises to build his body up for the 2011 season.

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It seems Mayumi is ok with Keisuke Kano also wanting to be a catcher (in addition to being an outfielder).

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Yuya Ando apparently didn't want to get a punch perm and instead got himself a buzz cut.  On Wednesday, Ando practiced outdoors for the first time this off-season and later told reporters that he planned on getting some throwing in before the end of the month.

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The Hanshin Tigers appear to be moving forward with plans to schedule an exhibition game against the Rakuten Eagles at Koshien Stadium sometime before / after their exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants on the 3/13.

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The Tigers will be holding a press conference tomorrow to announce their signing of Kosuke Kato.

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The Hanshin Tigers announced on Wednesday that Fumitaka Ito was joining the staff.  Ito will be helping the team develop their younger players and provide support to injured players.

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Tigers’ fall camp ends; Sakurai, Ishikawa have surgery

by on Nov.17, 2010 @ 11:07 pm, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers' fall camp ended today. 14 pitchers and 12 position players took part in the camp.  Akinobu Mayumi appeared satisfied with the results and said, "I think we practiced enough.  The coaches were able to talk to and watch each player."  Mayumi also said that he was interested in seeing how much players developed during the months of December and January.

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The Tigers announced earlier today that both Kodai Sakurai and Shunsuke Ishikawa had surgeries on their right elbows on Tuesday.  Both players were discharged from the hospital today and are expected to begin their rehab workouts at Naruohama on the 19th.

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Kosuke Kato appears to have passed his tryout with the team.

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: November 16, 2010

by on Nov.16, 2010 @ 11:23 am, under NPB
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It appears Kodai Sakurai will have surgery on his right elbow at some point within the next few days.  According to an unnamed source close to the situation, while Sakurai is able to play through the pain (using pain killers and other forms of treatment), it made more sense for him to have the surgery and get back to playing without any pain.

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Minoru Iwata did some running and weight training on Monday, a day after a simulated game outing, and told reports that he felt no pain in his left elbow.

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Yasutomo Kubo started his training for the 2011 season on Monday.  His first day of training entailed about 3-4 hours of running and trunk muscle strengthening exercises.  Kubo plans on training on his own until the start of spring camp on 2/1.

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The Tigers will continue to put Tomoaki Kanemoto in the starting line-up next year, but not at the expense of maintaining a record.

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Kosuke Kato tossed 54 pitches in the bullpen on Monday under the watchful eye of Mayumi.

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According to Sanspo, Kentaro Sekimoto met with the Hanshin Tigers yesterday but was not able to an agreement with the club.  But Daily Sports is carrying a report that says that there will be a press conference today to announce that Sekimoto will be staying with the club.  According to the Daily Sports report, the two sides may have agreed on a three year deal worth 75M yen (plus incentives) next year.

Yuya Ando's agent also met with the Tigers yesterday and while Ando's camp also couldn't commit, it seems they are further along in the negotiation process and could be close finalizing a deal.

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It appears the Tigers will indeed be going after Akihito Fujii (RAK) once he hits the FA market.

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The Tigers announced they will be selling advance order ticket packs (6, 10, and 12 packs) for the 2011 season between 11/18/2010 and 1/26/2011. (via Daily Sports)

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: November 15, 2010

by on Nov.15, 2010 @ 1:56 pm, under NPB
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Minoru Iwata's solid performance (5 IP, 59 NP, 19 BF, 4 H, 2 SO, 0 R) during his second simulated game on Sunday apparently has the Tigers a bit relieved and hopeful that he'll be fully ready to compete for a spot in the 2011 starting rotation.

Said Iwata regarding his outing, "Compared to my first [simulated game], I felt much better.  I'm making good progress.  I'm not 100% back, but there's no doubt that I'm getting closer."

Incidentally, after throwing 59 pitches during the simulated game, Iwata held a bullpen session to push his pitch count over 100 for the day.

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During Sunday's simulated game, Issei Morita went 3-for-6 with 2 RBI, including two doubles, one off Iwata and another off Daiki Kiyohara.  The Tigers have been pushing Morita to concentrate on using his lower body more when swinging the bat during fall camp.

Masashi Nohara picked up 4 hits.

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If Kosuke Kato makes the team, the Tigers might end up using him as a lefty specialist out of the pen.

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The Tigers apparently decided to extend their practice sessions at the Naruohama training grounds until 11/30.  Said Ni-gun manager Haruki Yoshitake, "The players on the farm need to catch up with the Ichi-gun players so this is an obvious decision.  Hitting, fielding, I'd like the players to use this time to figure out how they want to move forward."

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Hanshin Tigers News and Notes: November 14, 2010

by on Nov.14, 2010 @ 3:04 pm, under NPB
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Kazuhito Futagami tossed 50 pitches to a standing catcher in the bullpen at Naruohama yesterday, his first session since his right elbow injury.  Futagami concentrated on throwing the last 30 pitches down low using about 70-80% of his strength.  Said Futagami, "I did feel any discomfort while throwing.  I'll be able to pitch to a squatting catcher some time this month. ... I'll also plan on pitching in December.  And I'd like to get my [new] year started before anyone else."

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As of yesterday, Minoru Iwata was scheduled to pitch in a simulated game today (with a pitch count of about 100 pitches).  Iwata spent his day playing catch and running during practice on Saturday (he didn't pitch in the bullpen).

UPDATE: Iwata tossed 5 shutout innings while giving up 4 hits and striking out 2 on 59 pitches.  He also mixed in his off-speed pitches, like his slider and curve, and topped out at 141km/h.

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Robert Zarate got his eyes checked out on Saturday in order to get a prescription for a new pair of glasses.  Upon returning from his examination, he spent some time flagging down flyballs in the outfield during BP without any glasses on.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto spent about 3 hours at the player dorms (like getting treatment on his right shoulder and working with weights) in Naruohama on Saturday.

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The Tigers worked on stealing second (with leads) during practice on Saturday.  Seems the fastest was Hiroki Uemoto at 3.29 seconds.  And according to training coach Atsunori Ito, that's not too far off from Norihiro Akahoshi's mark of 3.26 seconds (an average).

For runs between first and third, Yamato came out on top with a 6.99 second mark.

The Tigers were in the middle of the pack in stolen bases this past season (71) and are looking towards Uemoto, Yamato, Shunsuke Fujikawa, Kenichi Tagami, and Kohei Shibata to step up with their speed.

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Akinobu Mayumi told reporters on Saturday that thing he's looking for in a catcher right now (to step in for Kenji Jojima) is one that has strong defensive skills.

Incidentally, it seems Jojima placed a call to Takumi Akiyama (he's apparently keeping tabs on the youngster) and also asked chief trainer Tatsuzo Tsunekawa not to give the media too much information about his surgery.  The club may also give Jojima the green light to do whatever he feels is necessary in order to get back to the playing field as soon as possible, including heading overseas (like Los Angeles, Arizona, and Hawaii) for his rehab and training.  They may even excuse him from upcoming events like Fan Appreciation Day and the end of the year team gathering.  It's all about providing Jojima with whatever he needs.

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As part of his tryout, Yokhama Bay Stars' senryokugai Kosuke Kato tossed 53 pitches (including his curve, slider, and shuto) to a squatting catcher, with Mayumi watching, earlier today.  Kato is scheduled to stay with the team until the last day of fall camp (17th).

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Senryokugai: Bay Stars’ list includes eight players

by on Oct.01, 2010 @ 10:48 pm, under NPB
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The Bay Stars announced today that they were not going to be extending contracts to the following eight players:

28-year-old Michiomi Yoshihara P

31-year-old Kosuke Kato P

27-year-old Wei Chen P (Ikusei)

21-year-old Masato Sugimoto C (Ikusei)

31-year-old Toshiyuki Kitagawa INF

31-year-old Yosuke Shimokubo OF

30-year-old Hiroaki Onishi OF

21-year-old Takuya Sakamoto OF

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