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2/21/2012: Takashi Saito, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tsuyoshi Wada

by on Feb.21, 2012 @ 3:05 pm, under MLB
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Takashi Saito worked out for about an hour on the first day of Spring Training.  He wanted to toss a bullpen session but was not given clearance.

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Hiroki Kuroda threw about thirty pitches, including off-speed pitches, in the bullpen on Monday.

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Hisanori Takahashi's workouts on Monday included a game of catch and fielding practice.

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Hisashi Iwakuma faced four batters, including ten pitches to Ichiro Suzuki (no swings), during batting practice on Monday.  Iwakuma threw a total thirty pitches.

Ichiro faced two other pitchers and saw fifteen more pitches and swung at the last five.

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Ichiro's cleats this season will weigh 230 grams, twenty grams lighter than last year.

Incidentally, asics has a section devoted to Ichiro's cleats over the years (does not include 2012).

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Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama both tossed bullpen sessions on Monday.  Tateyama threw forty pitches.

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Tsuyoshi Wada threw ten pitches indoors and twenty-eight pitches, including sliders and change-ups, outdoors in front of a motion capture machine on Sunday.

Wada is scheduled to toss bullpen session on February 21 and February 23.  He will then go on to pitch batting practice on February 26. (US times)

On Monday, Wada spent about an hour talking to manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair.

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Sponichi notes that Baltimore Orioles' Dan Duquette does not think Hideki Matsui is not a good fit for team and that while they were looking for a DH at one point, they filled the position by signing Wilson Betemit.  And with the New York Yankees signing Raul Ibanez, the best Matsui might be able to do now is get a minor league deal.

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Albert Pujols bumped into Yu Darvish while working out in Los Angeles.  A snip from an MLB.com article:

"I was working out and he walked in and introduced himself, really nice guy, really humble," Pujols said Monday in Tempe, Ariz. "Obviously he's looking forward to it and he's looking forward to the battle. He knows we're in the same division. It's going to be fun."

On Sunday, about twenty Japanese media reporters showed up at the Texas Rangers' Spraining Training complex.

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Former Yokohama Bay Star/Yomiuri Giant Marc Kroon has decided to retire -- Twitter announcement.

Seibu Lions in the process of checking foreign market for relievers

by on May.29, 2011 @ 9:09 pm, under NPB
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With Brian Sikorski out an unkown amount of time (he recently had his right elbow cleaned out), the Seibu Lions have decided to check the foreign market for relievers.  The team has already sent their international scout to the US to check on a list of players they put together with the hopes of finding a match and signing a deal before the end of June.

Marc Kroon's name has been mentioned, but it seems unlikely that he'll agree to a return since he already told reporters a little over a week ago that he no longer wanted to play in Japan.

5/21/2011: Ichiro Suzuki, Junichi Tazawa, Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on May.21, 2011 @ 5:39 pm, under MLB
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From games on the 20th:

Seattle Mariners 4 - San Diego Padres 1
Ichiro Suzuki start in right and batted first.  He went 0-for-4: strike out swinging, fly out to center, ground out to the pitcher, ground out to the pitcher.

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Salem Red Sox 7 - Winston-Salem Dash 4
Junichi Tazawa started the game and gave up 4 runs over 4 innings of work.  Final line: 4 IP, 18 BF, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR.  This was Tazawa's first official start since his right elbow surgery April 2010.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka told reporters on the 20th he was caught off-guard when he heard that Hideki Okajima was designated for assignment.

Matsuzaka: "He told me he was going to the minors. ... I only found out today that it was something worse. ... I know this kind of thing happens a lot in America, but it was just so sudden. ... We worked together as two Japanese people so I did feel a connection with him. ... I think there will be clubs that want Okajima and I hope things work out for him."

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Marc Kroon told reporters on the 19th that he decided he won't return to Japan, even if he gets released in the US and an NPB club comes knocking on his door.

Kroon: "I'm no longer thinking about trying to return to Japan. ... I really wanted to retire in Japan. ... I didn't receive a single offer from an NPB club during the off-season.  That was really upsetting. ... If an NPB team were to lose a player now to injury and came to me with an offer, I'd have to ask why they had to wait for an injury in order to offer me a deal."

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Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman signed autographs at Petco Park on the 20th in order to raise money for relief efforts in northern Japan (Hoffman's idea).  Otsuka also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Seattle Mariners - San Diego Padres game.

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Marc Kroon wants to end his career in Japan

by on Dec.17, 2010 @ 12:09 pm, under NPB
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Marc Kroon has apparently received 3 offers from MLB clubs and none from NPB clubs.

His latest post from his website:

Its been over one month since I left Japan. I am enjoying my time at home with my family and friends. I have not received any offers to go back and play next year in Japan.  I have had 3 offers to play in the major leagues. I would really love to play in Japan I have played there for 6 years and want to end my career there. I don't plan to retire I can still pitch and want to help a team out.  Its too bad the Giants did not feel that way about me. I wont give up hope to return back to Japan. I have so much to support in Japan. Thank you very much. You can also follow me on my twitter page. type in marckroon.  I will let everyone know if I will return next year.

(via Nikkan Sports)

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Yomiuri Giants likely to part ways with Marc Kroon

by on Nov.16, 2010 @ 4:28 pm, under NPB
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According to Nikkan Sports, the Yomiuri Giants have more or less decided not to pursue an extension with Marc Kroon.  Kroon was hoping to stay with the club, but the Giants apparently don't feel confident enough in Kroon's ability to close out games.

If Kroon doesn't mind taking on another position other than closer, the Giants might be willing to bring him back next season.

In other team related news:

Tetsuya Utsumi, Shun Tono, and Tetsuya Yamaguchi were excused from the third block (11/16 - 11/19) of fall camp on Monday.

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Yomiuri Giants: Lee, Kroon likely won’t be returning next season

by on Oct.23, 2010 @ 11:32 pm, under NPB
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According to a Sponichi report, Seung-Yeop Lee and Marc Kroon likely won't be returning to the Yomiuri Giants next season.  Both players have expressed that they'd like to stay with the club, but if they can't return to the Giants, they'll try to find employment with one of the other 11 NPB teams.

The Giants may also let Seth Greisinger walk as well.  As for the rest of their foreign players, the Giants may decide to get rid of all / some of them and start over from scratch.

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End of Marc Kroon’s career in Yomiuri uniform drawing near?

by on Oct.20, 2010 @ 2:11 pm, under NPB
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Club chairman Tsuneo Watanabe told reporters yesterday that Marc Kroon should not be used during the Final Stage of the Climax Series.  Interestingly enough, Tatsunori Hara apparently plans on using Kroon in the 9th, although it seems he'll also be on a short leash.  Pitching coach Masaki Saito also shot down the possibility of using Kroon in the 7th or 8th innings.

Watanabe also told reporters that he wanted to see Hara manage the Giants for at least another 5 years.

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Yomiuri Giants: Hara spends quality time with the youngsters

by on Oct.11, 2010 @ 10:05 pm, under NPB
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Tatsunori Hara spent time working closely with Hisayoshi Chono, Hayato Sakamoto, and Ryota Wakiya during practice today at Giants Stadium.  Hara spent about 30 minutes tossing BP to Wakiya while giving him advice on everything from bunting to his batting stance.  After that, he hit baseballs to Chono, Sakamoto, and Wakiya in the outfield.

Some more details from Sanspo (10/12): seems Hara spent about 50 minutes working with Chono behind closed doors (hitting instruction).  He then had Sakamoto and Wakiya join in and spent another hour and a half working with all three players.  After full squad practice, Hara had the same three players stay after to flag down fly balls between left and right field (they each had to handle 6 fly balls).

In other team news:

It seems the Yomiuri Giants will be using a combination of Marc Kroon, Tetsuya Yamaguchi, Daisuke Ochi, and Yuya Kubo to close out games during the Climax Series.  In others words, the Giants won't live and die with Kroon as closer -- if he isn't pitching well, they'll quickly replace him with one of the other three and go from there.

Kroon's stock as a closer has been in gradual decline over the course of the current season.  And while it appeared as though he might be coming out of his funk in September (10 G, 1.64 ERA, 11 IP, 18 SO, 0.91 WHIP), things sort of blew up for him in October (3 G, 13.50 ERA, 2 IP, 4 SO, 3.50 WHIP).

Incidentally, Kroon told reporters that he wanted to continue playing next year, be it with the Giants, or with another team (although his first choice would be to return to Yomiouri).

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