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[11/4/2013] Hanshin Tigers News and Notes

by on Nov.05, 2013 @ 4:12 am, under NPB
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Shintaro Fujinami wants to improve his change-up and curve.  His top three pitches this season were fastball, cutter, and fork.

Source: Daily Sports 11/4/2013

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Hitting coordinator Masayuki Kakefu worked with Issei Morita on Sunday.

"He can hit the ball pretty far for a Japan person.  That is his strength.  I think it is better to consider him a mini Randy Bass instead of a mini Craig Brazell," Kakefu said.  "I am looking forward to what he can do.  There will be an open roster spot with [Shinjiro] Hiyama's retirement.  He could be an interesting option in a situation where a new foreign player is still considered a question mark."

Source: Daily Sports 11/4/2013

Kafeu feels Morita has enough power for a thirty home run season.

Morita took 129 swings during batting practice on Sunday and hit twenty-seven over the fence.

Source: Sanspo 11/4/2013

Kakefu has also been working with Hayata Ito.  He has been trying to get him to take a more relaxed approach to hitting.

Ito took ninety-four swings during batting practice on Sunday and recorded thirty-eight could be hits.

Source: Sanspo 11/4/2013

According to Tokyo Sports, Kakefu is trying to motive players by praising them.  So far, it appears to be working.

Source: Tokyo Sports 11/4/2013

Kakefu's job title will apparently be shorted to DC, as in Development Coordinator.

Source: Sanspo 11/4/2013

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Yutaka Wada and Kakefu are high on Masahiro Nakatani.

Source: Nikkkan Sports 11/4/2013, Nikkan Sports 11/4/2013

Wada is hoping one of the players in the organization can step up and become a bunt specialist.

Source: Daily Sports 11/4/2013

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Ryota Arai has been working on a new swing that involves a smaller leg kick.

Source: Sanspo 11/4/2013

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INF/base-running coach Nobuhiro Takashiro has been helping players with their base-running techniques, with a focus on how to take better secondary leads.

Source: Sanspo 11/4/2013, Nikkan Sports 11/4/2013

Hanshin Tigers: March 3, 2012

by on Mar.04, 2012 @ 3:40 am, under NPB
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Tomoaki Kanemoto, Kenji Jojima, Takahiro Arai, Craig Brazell, Atsushi Nomi and Jason Strandridge were part of the group that stayed behind and worked out at Koshien Stadium on Saturday.

Kanemoto faced Nomi during batting practice and hit a 2-2 fastball over the fence in right.

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Jojima wants to play in every remaining exhibition game on the schedule, beginning from the game on March 6, because he feels that will be the best way to learn how to play first base.

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Yutaka Wada told reporters on Friday that he may use a combination of catchers (from the group of Shinji Komiyama, Taichi Okazaki, and Takashi Shimizu) while Akihito Fujii recovers from a left oblique injury.

Said Wada, "Hypothetically speaking, if there are only three catchers, I have an image that it might be better to use this catcher at the end and this other catcher at the beginning.  I would like to test those things out."

Wada is also hoping to find out if one or two of the catchers can step up and catch once or twice a week in order to spell Fujii.

It should also be noted that Wada plans to place more emphasis on defense rather than offense.  Ryo Asai is also spending some time getting re-acclimated to catching, just in case.

And speaking of Fujii, he received treatment at Naruohama on Friday and told reporters that he was feeling better and that he was glad they caught the problem before it got worse.  The team will monitor Fujii over the next few days to see how things go and will adjust his training/rehab schedule accordingly.

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Kyuji Fujikawa is looking forward to facing Dae-Ho Lee (ORI) on Sunday.  The two previously met during the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 WBC: three plate appearances, two walks and one fly out to center.

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Since Kazuhito Futagami did not pitch on Saturday, he will most likely pitch on Sunday (he is supposed to pitch in one of the two games).

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Masahiro Nakatani caught a bullpen session at Naruohama on Friday.

Said Ni-gun manager Haruki Yoshitake, "[Nakatani] is an outfielder.  But we only have two catchers at Ni-gun right now so we are preparing him just in case something happens to one of them."

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Wada would like to bat Matt Murton lead-off but is also testing other combinations, like Takashi Toritani first and Murton third.

Hanshin Tigers: March 1, 2012

by on Mar.01, 2012 @ 11:57 pm, under NPB
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The Tigers had the day off today.

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Akihito Fujii was examined at an Osaka hospital on Wednesday and diagnosed with a left oblique strain.  No word on how long it was take for a full recovery, but the team is apparently preparing for the worst, which would be beginning the season without him.

Shinji Komiyama, Takashi Shimizu, and Taichi Okazaki are expected to pick up the slack.

FYI: Sponichi notes that it could take Fujii anywhere from three weeks to a month and a half for a full recovery.

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Pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi told reporters on Wednesday that the competition for the last spot in the starting rotation will take place over a four game period between March 3 and March 7.  Yuya Ando, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Naoto Tsuru, and Tatsuya Kojima are each expected to pitch.

The first five pitchers will likely be: Atsushi Nomi, Minoru Iwata, Randy Messenger, Jason Standridge, and Yasutomo Kubo.

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Nomi threw about 1,600 pitches during spring camp.  That is a team high.

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Takumi Akiyama stopped his bullpen session short on Wednesday due to tightness in his leg(s).  While it does not appear to be serious, the team will observe Akiyama over the next few days to see if they need to make adjust their pitching plans moving forward.

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The media learned on Wednesday that Masahiro Nakatani will be sent down to Ni-gun on Friday.  Over seven games in February, Nakatani went 3-for-22 with no homers and no RBI.  The Tigers decided to send him down to Ni-gun to give him more chances to play and because the Ni-gun team will need another catcher since Fujii will likely miss some time.

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Atsushi Nomi will not travel with the team to Fukuoka and will instead prepare for an exhibition game start against Seibu at Koshien on March 9.  From there he will get two more exhibition game starts (March 16 vs Lotte at QVC and March 23 vs Orix at Kyocera Dome) before the opening day start on March 30 (vs Yokohama at Kyocera Dome).  This schedule will allow Nomi to pitch on six days of rest.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto will likely begin playing on a regular basis beginning on March 6 (exhibition game vs Softbank at Yahoo Dome).  Assuming no problems, he could also play some left during a five game exhibition game stretch at Koshien that begins on March 9.

On Wednesday, after batting practice, Kanemoto played some catch out in left at a distance of about sixty meters.  He remained in left during live batting practice and finished things off with some running.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito swung the bat 210 times on Wednesday.

Ito's workouts at Naruohama today lasted about two hours (from 9am to 11am) and included weight training and batting practice.

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The Tigers saw a drop in attendance during spring camp this year: they drew 58,300 while holding spring camp in one location (Ginoza, Okinawa) compared to 68,400 last year when they held spring camp in two locations (Ginoza, Okinawa and Aki, Kochi).

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Some batting stats through Wednesday:

Hanshin Tigers: February 25, 2012

by on Feb.26, 2012 @ 1:04 am, under NPB
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Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Saturday

  • Takumi Akiyama threw thirty-nine pitches in the bullpen. (Sanspo)
  • Akira Iwamoto threw thirty-five pitches in the bullpen. (Nikkan Sports)

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Including his bullpen session on Saturday, Akira Iwamoto has now thrown over 1,600 pitches during spring camp.

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Yasutomo Kubo (coming back from right shoulder tightness) played catch off the bullpen mound on Saturday before tossing a session with the catcher squatting.  Kubo later told reporters he was feeling ok.

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Takumi Akiyama is scheduled to make an appearance in Sunday's exhibition game against Chunichi.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito swung at about 200 pitches during soft-toss batting practice (focusing most of the session on his left hand since he is still working his way back from right wrist pain) on his day off on Friday.

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Masahiro Nakatani swung at about eighty pitches during batting practice on his day off Friday.  He also recorded the session and spent some time reviewing the footage.

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Yutaka Wada would like the team to win their Tuesday and Sunday games because a Tuesday win will allow them to start the week on a positive note and a Sunday win will be a good way for fans to end their weekends and the players to end their week.

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Through Friday:

1st round draft pick Ito is 3-for-17 with one RBI over five games.

Hanshin Tigers: February 21, 2012

by on Feb.21, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice

Sunday

  • Takahiro Arai took seventy-three swings during batting practice and hit twenty over the fence. (Sanspo)

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Yasutomo Kubo did not do anything throwing today because he felt some tightness in his right shoulder.  He instead focused on things like running and strengthening exercises.

Pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi told reporters he was not sure when Kubo would be able to throw again.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito took ten practice swings in front of batting coach Atsushi Kataoka before practices today and was cleared to begin taking batting practice again.  During soft-toss BP, Ito used a bat Yoshinobu Takahashi (YOM) gave him on Sunday.  He also took regular batting practice.  Assuming no problems, he will most likely play in Wednesday's practice game against the Rakuten Eagles.

Incidentally, Yutaka Wada told reporters on Monday that even if Ito is not capable of playing in any games because of his right wrist, he still plans to have him attend games because there are plenty of things he can learn just by being in the dugout.

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Kenji Jojima told Norihiro Akahoshi that his right elbow is a ticking time bomb -- his career would effectively be over if he ruptures the remaining tendons in his right elbow.

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Atsushi Nomi is scheduled to start an intra-squad game on February 23.

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Some of the players that worked out on the team's day off on Monday:

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Matt Murton, Randy Messenger, and Jason Standridge unwinded on Monday by playing some ping-pong.

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Wada appeared on ABC's Cast on Monday and said:

  • ...he is planning to play as many different players as possible during an intra-squad game on February 23.
  • ...that while Takahiro Arai is more or less the clean-up hitter at this point, Tomoaki Kanemoto may also need to be considered since he is swinging the bat well.
  • ...both Murton and Craig Brazell are also expected to play on February 23.
  • ...that Yamato will likely join 1st round draft pick Ito, Shunsuke, Ryo Asai, and Tagami as candidates to play center.
  • ...that Takashi Toritani, Hiroki Uemoto, Yamato, and Keiichi Hirano will be considered for the top two spots in the batting order.  He also said that he was thinking Murton and Toritani could bat one or three in the line-up (inter-changeable; he likes Murton's speed and Tortani's ability to get on  base).

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Takahiro Arai's Sanspo Tigers' Promise: win another batting title and become the first Tiger since Randy Bass (1985-1986) to win batting titles in consecutive seasons.  If he succeeds he will be presented with 50,000 yen in clothing for his children.  If he fails he will give a Sanspo reader an autographed game-used bat and glove.

Arai is scheduled to play in the intra-squad game on February 23.

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Team president Nobuo Minami is not against announcing starting pitchers, but does not want to make changes to the rule just to be like the Pacific League.  He also does not think the rule should apply to Climax Series and Nippon Series games.

Hanshin Tigers: February 15, 2012

by on Feb.15, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Tuesday

  • Tomoaki Kanemoto faced Takumi Akiyama, Atsushi Nomi, and 4th round draft pick Kazuo Ito during situational batting practice and went 1-for-3: single to center off Akiyama, ground out to second off Nomi, and fly out to right off Ito. (Sports Hochi Osaka, Sanspo)

Tuesday

  • Atsushi Nomi threw thirty-one pitches to nine batters during situational batting practice and allowed one hit. (Sponichi, Sanspo)
  • 1st round draft pick Kazuo Ito threw forty-three pitches during situational batting practice and allowed two hits. (Sanspo)

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The Tigers had the day off today.

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Masahiro Nakatani spent about forty minutes in the batting cages on his day off today.  Nakatani batted clean-up in two practice games and went 0-for-8.

He also took extra fielding and batting practice after Tuesday's practice game against Hiroshima -- he chased down 112 baseballs during fielding practice and saw 142 pitches during batting practice.

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Yamato returned to Ginoza after Tuesday's game and spent about an hour on bunt practices.

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Issei Morita, Shunsuke, Kenichi Tagami, Haruki Kurose, Ryota Arai, Hiroki Uemoto, and Yamato were amongst the other players that worked out at Ginoza Stadium today.

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Valentine's Chocolates Rankings: Yutaka Wada (15), Tomoaki Kanemoto, Kyuji Fujikawa, Shinobu Fukuhara (14 each), Shinjiro Hiyama (9), Ryota Arai (8), Hiroki Uemoto (7), Yuya Ando, Keiichi Hirano, Takahiro Arai (6 each).

Hanshin Tigers: February 12, 2012

by on Feb.12, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Saturday

  • Matt Murton took seventy-five swings during lunchtime BP and hit eighteen over the fence. (Sponichi)
  • Tomoaki Kanemoto took ninety-seven swings during lunchtime BP and hit thirty-three over the fence. (Sponichi)
  • 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito took sixty-six swings during BP and did not hit any over the fence. (Sanspo)
  • Masahiro Nakatani took eighty swings during BP and hit six over the fence. (Sanspo)
  • Craig Brazell took seventy-one swings during lunchtime BP and his twenty-one over the fence. (Nikkan Sports)

Saturday

  • Yuya Ando threw fifty-two pitches in the bullpen. (Sanspo)
  • Kyuji Fujikawa threw thirty-four pitches, including off-speed pitches, in the bullpen. (Sanspo)

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NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato visited Ginoza camp today.  This was the sixth team Kato visited so far during spring camp.

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Yuya Ando is scheduled to toss his first batting practice session during spring camp on Monday.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto wore a t-shirt on Saturday that poked fun of Takahiro Arai's Triple Crown: Error King, GIDP King, RBI King.

After extra BP on Saturday, Kanemoto ran a number of dashes: five sets each of 50m, 40m, 30m, 20m, and 10m.

Today, Kanemoto made five plays out in left during situational fielding practice: he made two throws to second, one throw to third, and one throw to home plate.

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Matt Murton hit the pitching machine again during indoor batting practice on Saturday.

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Pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi worked with Takumi Akiyama for about thirty minutes during extra fielding practice on Saturday.

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Shinjiro Hiyama swung the bat with one hand 147 times during soft-toss batting practice on Saturday.  He also swung the bat ten times with both hands at about 50-60%.  And while he has yet to take outdoor fielding practice, he is currently able to throw the ball at a max distance of about thirty meters after catching/fielding it indoors.

====== UPDATE 2/13 @ 1:39am

The Tigers drew about 6,000 fans on Saturday.

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Craig Brazell worked with bodybuilder Terry Beedie (sp?) during the off-season.

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Team owner Shinya Sakai observed Ginoza camp today.

Hanshin Tigers: February 11, 2012

by on Feb.11, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice

Saturday

  • Craig Brazell took sixty-nine swings during extra BP and hit twenty-three over the fence, including one off the top of the scoreboard in center. (Sports Hochi)

Friday

  • 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito took 128 swings in the batting cages against a machine. (Sponichi)
  • Matt Murton took a total 103 swings between soft-toss BP and hitting in the cages against a machine. (Sports Hochi Osaka)

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The Tigers played a bunt game today: innings begin with a runner on first and one out, teams must score a run using stolen bases, bunts, and slash bunts; six inning game with four outs per half inning; at worst, teams should be able to score at least one run per inning.  The game ended with the final score, 5-1.

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Yutaka Wada is planning to give Masahiro Nakatani a shot at batting clean-up during a game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on Sunday.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito may continue to use two different bats (a white HI-GOLD bat and a black Rawlings bat) during the season and switch based on opponent.

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Matt Murton managed to hit the pitching machine during batting practice on Friday.  What's more, he managed to do it by getting the ball to go through an opening in a net that sits in front of the machine.  The size of the opening: 45cm x 15cm.

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Singer Maki Oguro is a candidate to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day.  The team slogan, Atsukunare (熱くなれ) also happens to be the title of a song she sings.

====== UPDATE 2/12 @ 12:14am

The entire team wore the new 2012 road uniforms during practice on Saturday.

Hanshin Tigers: February 10, 2012

by on Feb.10, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Friday

  • Matt Murton took forty-five swings against a machine that throws curves. (Sports Hochi)

Thursday

  • Craig Brazell took seventy-seven swings and hit twenty-three over the fence, including six in a row. (Sanspo)
  • Takahiro Arai took seventy-four swings and hit seven over the fence. (Sanspo)
  • Masahiro Nakatani went 1-for-3 during situational BP: single to left, strikeout looking, fly out to right. (Sanspo)  He also took fifty-seven swings during regular BP and hit one over the fence. (Nikkan Sports)
  • Takashi Shimizu went 1-for-3 during situational BP.  His lone hit: a double to left. (Sanspo)
  • Shinji Komiyama went collected three hits: single to right off Masanori Fujihara; single to center off Naoto Tsuru; and a triple to center of Fujihara. (Sanspo)
  • 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito took 113 swings during extra BP and hit three over the fence. (Sports Hochi Osaka)

Thursday

  • Takumi Akiyama threw ninety pitches in the bullpen.  He also set imaginary counts and situations during his session. (Sanspo)
  • Kyuji Fujikawa threw eighty-six pitches in the bullpen. (Sanspo)  Or eighty-eight pitches. (Daily Sports)
  • Naoto Tsuru faced eleven batters during situational batting practice and allowed three hits on twenty-eight pitches. (Sanspo)
  • Tomoyuki Kubota threw thirty-three pitches during situational batting practice. (Sanspo)

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The team had the day off today.

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Matt Murton worked out on his day off today.  His workouts included running, stretching, and batting practice.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito spent some time hitting in the cages against machines during his day off today.

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Takumi Akiyama told reporters he plans to test his cutter when he gets his chance to toss situational batting practice.

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Craig Brazell spent about thirty minutes working on his fielding at first base with INF/base-running coach Teruyoshi Kuji on Thursday.

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Kenji Jojima spent about thirty minutes chasing down baseballs hit to the outfield during lunchtime BP on Thursday.

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Kyuji Fujikawa spent some time giving a number of players, like Tomoyuki Kubota, Kazuhito Futagami, and Hirokazu Shiranita advice on pitching on Thursday.  This apparently came after team president Nobuo Minami approached Fujikawa and asked him to think about what he can do, as captain of the pitching staff, to help pitchers that have struggled.

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During situational BP on Thursday, Masahiro Nakatani made a strong throw to home from right: with Kenichi Tagami on second, Yamato hit a single through the right side; Nakatani fielded the ball and quickly threw a one-hop bullet to home plate to get Tagami out at home.

Nakatani could bat forth and start in left during a practice game on February 12 (Nippon Ham).

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Takahiro Arai, and a number of other players, worked on their fielding/throwing after general practices on Thursday.  Special instructor Tatsuro Hirooka provided his input.

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Naoto Tsuru has a shot at either becoming a back of the rotation starter or a reliever this season.  He could also pitch in a practice game against Nippon Ham on February 12.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto was planning to participate in situational fielding practice during the second block of spring camp, but he ended up putting it off until the third block because of some shoulder tightness.

Hanshin Tigers: February 6, 2012

by on Feb.07, 2012 @ 3:30 am, under NPB
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Batting Practice Bullpen Sessions

Sunday

  • Craig Brazell took fifty-one swings and hit twelve over the fence. (Sanspo)
  • Takahiro Arai took 110 swings during lunchtime BP and hit none over the fence.  He also took forty-five swings during regular BP and hit one over the fence. (Sanspo)
  • Takashi Toritani took two rounds of BP: 106 swings and thirty-one over the fence during lunchtime BP and thirty-eight swings and three over the fence during regular BP. (Sanspo)
  • Masahiro Nakatani hit fourteen over the fence.  He hit a total 100 over the fence during the first block of spring camp. (Nikkan Sports)

Sunday

  • Takumi Akiyama threw seventy-seven pitches. (Sanspo)
  • Kuji Fujikawa threw forty pitches. (Sanspo)

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The team had the day off on Monday.

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6,500 fans were in attendance on Sunday.

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Four members of the 2011 draft class rode Tosa Kuroshio Railway's Tigers Train to Michi-no Ekiyasu on their day off on Monday.

1st round draft pick Hayata Ito and 4th round draft pick Kazuo Ito checked out the dolphins near the Renaissance Okinawa Resort on their day off on Monday.

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Tatsuro Hirooka arrived at the player hotel on Monday and will act as a special instructor for a few days beginning on Tuesday.

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Kazuya Tsutsui faced Hiroki Uemoto and 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito during batting practice on Sunday and allowed six could-be hits on fifty-four pitches.

Tomoyuki Kubota threw twenty-nine pitches to Masahiro Nakatani and allowed six could-be hits; he did not allow any could-be hits to Shunsuke on twenty-seven pitches.

Masanori Fujihara faced Issei Morita and Yamoto and allowed ten could-be hits on sixty-two pitches.  Fujihara could pitch in a practice game against Nippon Ham on February 12.

Naoto Tsuru threw twenty-two pitches to Kenichi Tagami and did not allow any hits; he threw forty-five pitches against Ryota Arai and allowed three could-be hits.  Tsuru could pitch in a practice game against Nippon Ham on February 12.

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Yutaka Wada stood in the batter's box Ryo Watanabe on Sunday to see how far along his change-up was coming.

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Kenji Jojima played center and left during batting practice on Sunday.  It was the first time he played the outfield, going back to his days of playing youth baseball.

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Shinta Hifumi took fielding practice at first on Sunday.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito took morning fielding practice (9am) at Kin Stadium on Sunday.  Ito chased down fifty-two baseballs over span of about thirty minutes.

Ito also had some time to watch Tomoaki Kanemoto take batting practice from behind home plate on Sunday (Wada gave him permission).

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Masashi Nohara and Yuhei Kai are both working out at Ni-gun spring camp and are candidates for a call-up to Ichi-gun spring camp.

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Kohei Shibata is still not sure when he be able to start throwing again (left shoulder).  That has not kept him from other workouts like fielding practice in the outfield and base-running practices.