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[10/20/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Oct.21, 2014 @ 9:51 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • Takahiro Norimoto threw about forty pitches in the bullpen on Monday. It was his first session since the regular season ended. He used a Rawlings baseball in preparation for the Suzuki All-Star Series in November. Source: Sports Hochi 10/21/2014
  • Early workouts during fall practice will begin on the 24th. Workouts will begin at 9:00am, about an hour before the start of regular practices. Source: Daily Sports 10/20/2014
  • Koji Aoyama would like to try closing games again next year. He spoke to Hiromoto Okubo during fall practices and will likely be used in relief. Source: Sports Hochi 10/20/2014
  • Okubo wants players to exercise proper manners -- he expects them to come to full stops when greeting others, particularly those older than them. He believes good manners can lead to better general focus, more positive energy, and a pleasant atmosphere. Source: Sports Hochi 10/21/2014, Sanspo 10/21/2014 ... Okubo is thinking about setting up a relief rotation consisting of two groups of four relievers. Each group would swap out every two weeks to keep arms fresh. Source: Sponichi 10/20/2014, Nikkan Sports 10/20/2014
  • Senichi Hoshino is not planning to accept any honorary posts from Rakuten. He has been asked to stay by owner Hiroshi Mikitani, but without any details about his position. Source: Daily Sports 10/21/2014

Seibu Lions

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Lotte is planning to invite Teruyoshi Kuji to fall camp as a special instructor. Kuji was an infield/base coach with Hanshin up until last year. Source: Daily Sports 10/21/2014
  • The Marines posted footage taken from a camera that was strapped to Yoshifumi Okada's head while shagging fly balls at QVC Marine.

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Shohei Otani struck out twelve on Sunday and at twenty years and three months, became the second youngest pitcher to record double-digits strikeouts in a postseason game. Yu Darvish set the record with eleven strikeouts at twenty years and one month during the first game of the Second Stage of the 2006 Playoff. Source: Sanspo 10/20/2014, Sanspo 10/20/2014, Sponichi 10/20/2014 ... Otani became the eighth pitcher (tenth time) to strike out ten or more hitters during a Playoff/Climax Series game. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/20/2014 ... Otani was not available to play on Monday. Source: Daily Sports 10/20/2014
  • The Fighters are planning to keep all of their Ichi-gun coaches. Source: Sports Hochi 10/21/2014, Daily Sports 10/21/2014

[10/19/2014] Rumors: Jose Lopez, Chris Seddon (Yomiuri), Daisuke Yamai (Chunichi)

by on Oct.20, 2014 @ 6:23 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

  • Jose Lopez and Scott Mathieson left Japan on the 19th. Lopez is a question mark for next season. He is interested in returning. Mathieson will be in the second year of a two-year deal in 2015. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014
  • Leslie Anderson might require left elbow surgery during the winter. There is a good chance the Giants will ask him back. Frederich Cepeda will most likely return. The Giants are expected to part ways with Chris Seddon. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014
  • Yoshiyuki Kamei and Kentaro Nishimura both earned domestic FA options this year. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014
  • The Giants are planning to look into Chihiro Kaneko. Source: Daily Sports 10/19/2014 ... The Giants will be keeping an eye on Yulieski Gourriel and Alfredo Despaigne. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014 ... The Giants are not planning to offer Cepeda a contract for 2015 and are looking into Hiroyuki Nakajima. Source: Sanspo 10/19/2014

Hanshin Tigers

  • Ni-gun manager Katsuo Hirata could be reassigned to Ichi-gun head coach. Ni-gun chief/hitting coach Hideo Furuya could take over as Ni-gun manager. Ichi-gun general coach Haruki Yoshitake could join the front office. Source: Sanspo 10/19/2014

Hiroshima Carp

  • Eishin Soyogi and Shogo Kimura earned their domestic FA options this year. They are expected to meet team officials on the 20th to discuss their options. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014
  • Kenta Maeda has not given up on his dream to play in the Majors and would like to head overseas sooner rather than later. This winter may not be in the cards. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014

Chunichi Dragons

  • Daisuke Yamai on his FA option: "There was a time when I wanted to know what kind of interest other teams had in me, but not anymore. More than that, I learned that I have a really strong bond with this team (Chunichi)." Source: Sports Hochi 10/19/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • Kiyoshi Nakahata would like to see Yulieski Gourriel return to the Bay Stars next season. Nakahata plans to work him harder if he does. "I treated him like a guest this year, things will be different next year. He doesn't really seem interested in defense. He doesn't like practicing, but he will have to if he does not want to become a distraction. I'll sit down and talk to him about it [if he comes back]." Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • The Swallows would like Hiroyasu Tanaka and Ryoji Aikawa to return in 2015. They are expected to begin negotiations with the two players soon. Source: Daily Sports 10/19/2014

Rakuten Eagles

Orix Buffaloes

  • The Buffaloes are putting together a list of foreign player candidates in case negotiations with Wily Mo Pena fall through. Kila Ka'aihue is one of the candidates on the list. There may be other players with NPB experience on the list. Source: Sponichi 10/19/2014

[10/18/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines

by on Oct.19, 2014 @ 3:16 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

Seibu Lions

  • Hotaka Yamakawa hurt the back of his right thigh while running the bases in a game against Orix on the 16th. He returned to Saitama on Friday and will be examined at a hospital. Source: Sponichi 10/18/2014, Daily Sports 10/18/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Players worked out with authorized CPBL baseballs on Saturday. They are scheduled to play three exhibition games against the Lamigo Monkeys later this month and into next. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/18/2014

[10/17/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Orix Buffaloes

by on Oct.18, 2014 @ 2:27 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • Hiromoto Okubo is planning to schedule intra-squad games during fall camp in November. He also does not plan to give players any days off, though will include light workout days. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/17/2014, Daily Sports 10/17/2014 ... Okubo could schedule five or more intra-squad games during fall camp. Source: Sponichi 10/17/2014
  • Yasunori Kikuchi wants to increase the number of useable pitches in his repertoire. He throws a fastball, slider, and fork. He would like to polish his curve and change to a point where he can throw them in games. His goal is to win a spot in the opening day starting rotation and keep it over the course of a whole season. Source: Sports Hochi 10/17/2014
  • Fan appreciation day will take place on November 23 at kobo Stadium. Additional details will be released at the official team web site as they become available. Source: official announcement ... The Eagles will also hold mini-meetups at six Tohoku locations (Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, and Fukushima) on November 24. Source: official announcement

Orix Buffaloes

  • Joey Butler left Japan out of Narita Airport. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/17/2014
  • Esteban German will take a short break in New York before participating in the winter league in the Dominican Republic. Source: Sponichi 10/17/2014
  • Ni-gun hitting coach Hirotoshi Kitagawa will be reassigned to Project Manager in the Planning Division, effective November 1. His new job will require more direct interaction with fans for promotional purposes. Source: Daily Sports 10/17/2014

[10/16/2014] Rumors: Daisuke Yamai (Chunichi), Motohiro Shima (Rakuten), Yoshihisa Naruse (Lotte)

by on Oct.17, 2014 @ 2:43 am, under NPB
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Chunichi Dragons

  • The media learned that Daisuke Yamai met general manager Hiromitsu Ochiai at the Nagoya Stadium facilities on the first day of fall practices on the 9th. He was reportedly offered a multi-year deal with a large bump in salary. Yamai asked for some time to consider the offer. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/16/2014

Rakuten Eagles

  • Motohiro Shima apparently has a clause in his contract that gives him the right to exercise his FA option if he plays in a certain number of games. Source: Tokyo Sports 10/16/2014
  • Team owner Hiroshi Mikitani could get involved in talks with Senichi Hoshino. The Eagles would like to offer their former manager some sort of position in the front office, but Hoshino is balking because of how long it took management to hire his replacement. Source: Daily Sports 10/16/2014

Seibu Lions

  • Ginjiro Sumitani was fitted for his 2015 uniform on Thursday. He is still waiting to talk to the front office about next season. Source: Sanspo 10/16/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Team official Nobuhira Hayashi told reporters on Thursday that the organization met with Yoshihisa Naruse to discuss his future. Nothing was decided during the meeting. The two sides will meet again in about ten days. Source: Sponichi 10/16/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • Hiroki Kokubo signed a contract to be Samurai Japan manager through to 2017. However, he can break out of it to accept a managerial position in the NPB. Source: ZakZak 10/16/2014 ... Sadaharu Oh would like to see a former player step in as the next manager. Kimiyasu Kudo could be his top choice. Source: Daily Sports 10/16/2014, Sports Hochi 10/16/2014 ... Oh told reporters on Thursday he met Kudo in Tokyo on Wednesday for an unrelated matter. Source: Sanspo 10/16/2014 ... Sponichi believes that Oh may have offered the managerial position to Kudo on Wednesday. Source: Sponichi 10/16/2014

Orix Buffaloes

  • The Buffaloes are not planning to post Yoshio Itoi. "I have not heard anything about it from him and my assistant Shosaku Yokota has said nothing about it either. I know it's something he wants to do. I hear he is also studying English. But it is not something we expected and he is an important part of our team. He's only been here two years. We haven't even won anything. It's still too early," said team president Ryuzo Setoyama. Source: Tokyo Sports 10/16/2014
  • Orix is interested in Alfredo Despaigne and Yulieski Gourriel. Source: Sports Hochi 10/16/2014

[10/16/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Chiba Lotte Marines, Orix Buffaloes

by on Oct.17, 2014 @ 2:36 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • Hiromoto Okubo's four step plan: Plan, Do, Check, and Act. Rinse and repeat. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/16/2014 ... Okubo wants players to write a three-line jounal entry about their practices every day: one line about something good, one line about something bad, one line about what to work on the following day. Source: Sanspo 10/16/2014 ... Players might be subjected to a barrage of 1,000 grounders during fall camp. Source: Sports Hochi 10/16/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

Orix Buffaloes

  • Hitting coach Takashi Osanai and battery coach Kenji Furukubo will not be returning next year. The Buffaloes accepted their decision to leave. Source: official announcement
  • The Buffaloes announced that they added Shinichi Sato and Daisuke Maeda to their coaching staff. They will be replacing Osanai and Furukubo -- Sato will be a hitting coach and Maeda a battery coach. Source: official announcement

[10/14/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Orix Buffaloes

by on Oct.15, 2014 @ 2:54 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • There were rumors the Eagles might try to offer Senichi Hoshino some sort of a position in the front office, but it seems he might be leaving the organization for good because he was not happy with how management was dragging things out with the hiring of his replacement. Source: Daily Sports 10/14/2014 ... Fall practices at kobo Stadium began on Tuesday. Hoshino made an appearance and addressed players on the field one last time. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/14/2014
  • The Eagles announced that they will not offer pitching coach Yoshinori Sato, infield/base coach Yasutomo Suzuki, and battery coach Takashi Miwa contracts for the 2015 season. Source: official announcement ... Sato and Suzuki are leaving because of the team's poor performance. Miwa has been offered a job in the front office. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/14/2014
  • Ni-gun chief pitching coach Tsutomu Sakai and Ni-gun pitching coach Hiroshi Takamura are expected to get promotions to Ichi-gun. Source: Sports Hochi 10/14/2014

Seibu Lions

  • Fall practices began at Seibu Dome on Tuesday. They are scheduled to end on November 4. Fall camp will take place in Nichinan, Miyazaki between November 6 and 20. Source: Daily Sports 10/14/2014

Orix Buffaloes

  • Keiichi Hirano was taken off the active roster on Tuesday with an injury to his right hamstring. Source: Sports Hochi 10/14/2014
  • There were no plans for Wily Mo Pena to leave Japan early. The Buffaloes are interested in signing Pena to a new contract and have already spoken to his agent once. Source: Daily Sports 10/14/2014
  • Monday's game was canceled because of Typhoon #19. The last domed stadium game that was canceled was between Lotte and Seibu at Seibu Dome on September 16, 2013 (typhoon). The last domed stadium postseason game that was canceled was between Chunichi and Seibu at Seibu Dome on October 20, 2004 (typhoon). Monday's cancellation at Kyocera Dome was the third in stadium history. The other two times: Orix vs Kintetsu on August 21, 2001 (typhoon); Seibu vs Kintetsu on September 7, 2004 (typhoon). Source: Nikkan Sports 10/14/2014

[10/14/2014] Rakuten Eagles name Hiromoto Okubo new Ichi-gun manager

by on Oct.14, 2014 @ 6:29 pm, under NPB
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The Rakuten Eagles announced today that Hiromoto Okubo will be taking over as new manager of the Ichi-gun team.

"My job will be to create a winning team. I will do my best," said Okubo during today's press conference.

Source: Daily Sports 10/14/2014, Nikkan Sports 10/14/2014, Sports Hochi 10/14/2014, Sponichi 10/14/2014

[UPDATE 10/16 @ 2:31am]

Some notes:

  • Okubo and the Eagles agreed to a one-year deal. Salary has not yet been set.
  • Okubo was in Miyazaki for the Phoenix League. The Eagles contacted him on the day of the press conference at 9:00am and asked him to come to Sendai. It took him about five hours to get to Sendai (airplane and Shinkansen). He accepted the offer after being told by Senichi Hoshino to do it. The press conference began at 4:00pm.
  • Okubo and team president Yozo Tachibana were at the press conference.
  • The press conference took place in a small room and ended in less than ten minutes.
  • The press conference began with Tachibana apologizing for the announcement during the Climax Series. Okubo spoke briefly. One representative of the media was allowed to ask questions. The main portion of the press conference ended. The media was informed Tachibana was busy and had to leave.
  • The one representative of the media allowed to ask questions may have been told beforehand that questions should only be addressed to Okubo.
  • Tachibana did not answer any questions.
  • Tachibana and Okubo did not shake hands or stand together for the media.
  • Okubo stayed back and answered questions.
  • Team official Hiroshi Abei told reporters they went with an internal candidate because hiring someone from outside the organization would require an adjustment period.
  • Okubo was at fall practices at kobo Stadium on Wednesday.

Source: Sanspo 10/15/2014, Daily Sports 10/15/2014, Nikkan Sports 10/15/2014, Nikkan Sports 10/15/2014, Sponichi 10/15/2014, Sponichi 10/15/2014, Sports Hochi 10/15/2014

Sports Hochi posted portions of Okubo's interaction with the media:

You have been selected as Rakuten's fifth manager.

I just heard about it this morning. The media was first. I'm a little confused... I feel bad.

What are you thoughts?

There will be a lot of pressure since I'll be replacing something of a legend. Senichi Hoshino told me to do it. I'd like to put my life and body on the line.

Have you spoken to the owner?

No.

What does the team have to work on?

I want to put the players in the frame of mind where they can focus on thinking about what needs to be done to succeed. I want to work on fielding and base-running, not hitting that can have ups and downs.

Do you have a message for the fans?

I think the fans must have concerns and all kinds of thoughts. The only way I can give back to the fans is by winning.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/15/2014

[10/13/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines

by on Oct.14, 2014 @ 12:59 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

Seibu Lions

  • Norio Tanabe is thinking about bringing early morning and evening practices back to fall camp this year. Source: Daily Sports 10/13/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

  • Players ran three 2.7 kilometer stretches along a Makuhari beach during workouts on Monday. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/13/2014

[10/13/2014] Rakuten Eagles: Fall Practices at kobo Stadium to begin on Tuesday (10/14)

by on Oct.14, 2014 @ 12:30 am, under NPB
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Fall practices will take place at kobo Stadium between October 14 and 31, beginning at 10:30am. Players will get the day off on the 17th, 23rd, and 27th. Fans will be able to watch workouts for free (seating will be limited).

===

Fall Practice Roster

Pos Uni Name JPN Name ENG
P 1 松井 裕樹 Matsui, Yuki
P 11 塩見 貴洋 Shiomi, Takahiro
P 14 則本 昂大 Norimoto, Takahiro
P 17 長谷部 康平 Hasebe, Kohei
P 30 永井 怜 Nagai, Satoshi
P 41 青山 浩二 Aoyama, Koji
P 57 小山 伸一郎 Koyama, Shinichiro
P 58 辛島 航 Karashima, Wataru
P 59 菊池 保則 Kikuchi, Yasunori
P 61 上園 啓史 Uezono, Keiji
P 64 福山 博之 Fukuyama, Hiroyuki
C 37 嶋 基宏 Shima, Motohiro
C 48 伊志 嶺忠 Ishimine, Tadashi
C 65 小山 桂司 Oyama, Keiji
INF 4 後藤 光尊 Goto, Mitsutaka
INF 6 藤田 一也 Fujita, Kazuya
INF 33 銀次 Akaminai, Ginji
INF 43 小斉 祐輔 Kosai, Yusuke
INF 66 西村 弥 Nishimura, Wataru
INF 67 岩崎 達郎 Iwasaki, Tatsuro
OF 0 森山 周 Moriyama, Makoto
OF 5 牧田 明久 Makida, Akihisa
OF 23 聖澤 諒 Hijirisawa, Ryo
OF 27 岡島 豪郎 Okajima, Takero
OF 32 枡田 慎太郎 Masuda, Shintaro
OF 35 島内 宏明 Shimauchi, Hiroaki
OF 52 中島 俊哉 Nakashima, Toshiya

===

Source: official announcement