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Yakult Swallows Spring Camp News and Notes: February 7, 2011

by on Feb.07, 2011 @ 4:57 pm, under NPB
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This post will be updated throughout the day.

====== 2/7 @ 11:17pm

Kazuki Fukuchi stayed back after general practice for extra work on hitting today.

====== 2/7 @ 4:57pm

Yuki Shichijo (2nd round) faced Hiroyasu Tanaka and Shingo Kawabata during BP today and threw his fastball, slider, and change.

Said Shichijo, "I was a little nervous at first and despite having a hard time reading the batters, I really wanted to good feel for the strike zone.  I threw at about 70% today."

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Tony Barnette also tossed BP today and said afterward, "My feel for the fastball is better than before.  I just need to work on brushing up my off-speed pitches."

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Masato Nakazawa made an appearance during BP yesterday and threw 45 pitches to Kazuhiro Hatakeyama and Kawabata and gave up 5 could-be hits.  He also threw 5 shutos (new pitch he's working) and said that he was glad he was able to test it out against live hitters and that he planned on using it a lot more moving forward.

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Yakult Swallows News and Notes: December 5, 2010

by on Dec.05, 2010 @ 5:10 pm, under NPB
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Sanspo notes that the Swallows while the first four spots in the 2011 starting rotation appear to be set with Masanori Ishkawa, Shohei Tateyama, Yoshinori Sato, and Kyohei Muranaka, the last two spots remain wide open.  Pitchers that could end up competing for the final two spots include Ryo Kawashima, Mikinori Kato, Tatsuyoshi Matsubushi (could move out of the bullpen), Hitoshi Yamamoto, Ryo Hidaka, and Masato Nakazawa.  The competition could also include Young-Soo Bae, assuming the Swallows successful sign him.

Incidentally, the media learned that 25-year-old Nakazawa filed marriage papers a 27-year-old sports instructor named Ayumu Tsujinaka (? 辻中歩) on December 1.  The two had been going out for 2-years before they decided to tie the know.

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Shinya Miyamoto will go back to using a 33 inch bat next season after using a 33.5 inch bat over the last two seasons.

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Junji Ogawa is scheduled to hold a lecture for Kawai Musical Instruments employees in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka on 1/20/2011.  After graduating from Chuo University, Ogawa joined Kawai and played for their baseball team for two years before being drafted by the Swallows in 1981.  The Kawai team has since been dissolved (11/2001) but there are still plenty of baseball fans within the company and it seems those fans (and former players) asked Ogawa to visit their company.

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Yakult Swallows: Nakazawa to throw 1,000 pitches during fall camp

by on Oct.31, 2010 @ 7:02 pm, under NPB
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In an effort to find their next set of starters for the rotation (5 and 6 pitchers), it seems the Yakult Swallows will have pitchers Masato Nakazawa, Ryo Hidaka, Minoru Yamagishi, and Rafael Fernandes (Ikusei) work on throwing more than 1,000 pitches during fall camp (11/4 - 11/21).

During fall camp last year, both Yoshinori Sato and Kyohei Muranaka tossed more than 1,000 pitches and managed to find some success as starters this season.

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Hiroyasu Tanaka has been using the same bat since his first season with the Swallows in 2005 (33.5 inches and 900 grams).  It seems he now has plans of changing that bat and has secured a number of bats to try out during fall camp, including a Robinson Cano model bat and a Yoshitomo Tani model bat.

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9 NPB teams could select Yusei Kikuchi, what about the other 3?

by on Oct.26, 2009 @ 1:13 pm, under NPB
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So with 9 teams saying that they will likely select Yusei Kikuchi as their first pick in this year's draft, where does that leave the other three teams:

Hiroshima Carp - Takeru Imamura P
The team is looking for some starting help and Carp scouts feel that he might be good enough to start at Ichi-gun right way.  He's got a fastball that tops out at 152km/h and can also throw a curve, slider, and cutter.

Imamura started in 6 games at Koshien, tossing 44 innings while striking out 47.

Note: The Softbank Hawks have also mentioned that they are interested in Imamura.  If the Hawks decide they don't want to risk their pick on Kikuchi, they might decide to go with Imamura.

Yokohama Bay Stars - Yoshitomo Tsutsugo INF
He's a power bat that knocked out 69 home runs during his high school career.  He's also coming out of Yokohama High School so he's something of a "homegrown" prospect.

Note: The Bay Stars have said that they will consider Kikuchi

Yomiuri Giants - Hisayoshi Chono OF
The Giants have been talking about selecting Hisayoshi Chono for quite some time.  They even told Kikuchi that Chono was going to be their pick.

=== UPDATE: 10/27/2009 8:05am JST

More updates:

The Yakult Swallows have indicated that they will still select Kikuchi with their first pick

The Chiba Lotte Marines have also indicated that Kikuchi is still their number 1.  But they also have a list of other players in case they can't get Kikuchi.  The list includes Toshiya Okada, Nobuaki Nakabayashi, Masanori Fujihara, Masato Nakazawa, and Shota Ohmine.

The Yokohama Bay Stars do appear to be heading towards selecting Yoshitomo Tsutsugo as their number 1.

The Nippon Ham Fighters are also high on Takayuki Makka.

=== UPDATE: 10/27/2009 12:06pm JST

...Other players the Yokohama Bay Stars like (after the first round): Toru Anan (P), Motoki Higa (P), and Shigeru Kaga (P).

...And Yuki Shimooki is fully prepared to play for Hitachi out of the Industrial League if he goes undrafted.

=== UPDATE: 10/28/2009 12:48am JST

...The Yokohama Bay Stars have confirmed that they will go with Tsutsugo as their number 1 pick.  The Bay Stars like his power and the fact that he played for Yokohama High School.

...The Yakult Swallows continue to lean towards selecting Kikuchi with their first pick.

...Toshiya Okada is an alternate first round pick for the Hanshin Tigers and the Chiba Lotte Marines.

...And this Sponichi article mentions:

Nobuyoshi Yamada - Hanshin Tigers and Hiroshima Carp

Takumi Akiyama - Softbank Hawks and Hanshin Tigers

And that players like Shota Dobayashi, Kenta Imamiya, Takayuki Makka, Hiroyuki Kawahara, and Masato Kiyashiki will likely be selected early.

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