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[4/26/2014] BC League: Gunma agrees to terms with former NPB players Romero and Zarate

by on Apr.26, 2014 @ 11:43 pm, under Independent
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The BC League's Gunma Diamond Pegasus announced today that they agreed to terms with former NPB pitchers Levi Romero (30) and Robert Zarate (27).  Romera spent some time in the Yomiuri (2009-2012) and Softbank (2012) organizations.  He was assigned the number twelve.  Zarata played for Gunma in 2010 before signing with the Hanshin Tigers (2011-2013).  He was assigned the number forty-three.

Source: official announcement

Hanshin Tigers add Zarate, Tamaki to the seventy-man roster

by on Jul.25, 2012 @ 2:51 pm, under NPB
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As mentioned earlier, the Hanshin Tigers added Ikusei pitchers Robert Zarate and Yutaka Tamaki to the seventy-man roster on Tuesday.

A couple more details:

Zarate was assigned the number ninety-five (from 116).  His new contract will be worth an estimated 6.5M yen.

Tamaki was assigned the number ninety-seven (from 118).  His new contract will be worth an estimated 6.0M yen.

Source: Official team site, Sports Hochi Osaka 7/25/2012, Daily Sports 7/25/2012

Hanshin Tigers: June 21, 2012

by on Jun.21, 2012 @ 6:07 pm, under NPB
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Kyuji Fujikawa started playing catch today -- for about ten minutes, in the bullpen (because of the weather), on flat ground.  Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2012

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Akihito Fujii (right hamstring) threw out a runner trying to steal second in the 3rd inning of Wednesday's Ikusei game against Yamato Takada Club (Industrial League).  Source: Sports Hochi Osaka 6/21/2012

Fujii joined the Ichi-gun players for workouts today at Koshien.  Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2012

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USA-based scout Andy Sheets told reporters today that he felt Matt Murton was beginning to come around with his hitting.

"Watching him today (June 20), he looked good out there.  I think things will get better for him again. ... It is about keeping things simple.  This is not really advice, but just something I mentioned to him when talking about baseball," said Sheets.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012 

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Possible closer candidates: Shinobu FukuharaDaiki EnokidaKazuya Tsutsui, and Tomoyuki Kubota. Source: Sports Hochi Osaka 6/21/2012

Daily Sports reports that Enokida was selected to take on the closer job.

Sanspo notes that it is Enokida's job for the time being.

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Kenji Jojima worked out at the Naruohama training facilities today -- he walked outdoors for about thirty minutes and then did some trunk and gluteal training exercises indoors.  Jojima will train in the pool on Friday.  Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2012

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Yasutomo KuboKazuhito Futagami, and Takumi Akiyama will make starts during a three game series against Ni-gun Orix that begins on Friday.  Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2012

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Akiyama joined the Ichi-gun players for workouts today and threw fifty pitches in the bullpen under the watchful eyes of Yutaka Wada and pitching coaches Keiichi Yabu and Takashi Yamaguchi.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012

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Ikusei pitcher Robert Zarate faced ten batters during situational batting practice on Wednesday and gave up five could hits.  Ni-gun pitchers Shingo Matsuzaki and Hirokazu Shiranita also made appearances during situational batting practice: each faced ten batters, Matsuzaki gave up two hits and struck out two while Shiranita allowed two hits and walked one.  Source: Sanspo 6/21/2012

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Ryo Asai joined the Ichi-gun players for workouts on Wednesday and got two at bats during situational batting practice: fly out to left, ground out to short.  Source: Sanspo 6/21/2012

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The Tigers plan to place more emphasis on hitting for average than hitting for power when scouting new talent overseas.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012

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The Tigers are thinking about offering Olympic Gold Medalist (wrestling) Saori Yoshida a chance to throw out a ceremonial first pitch some time after the Olympics.  Source: Sports Hochi Osaka 6/21/2012

Hanshin Tigers: March 28, 2012

by on Mar.29, 2012 @ 6:23 am, under NPB
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Wednesday's Ni-gun game against Orix at Kobe 2 Stadium: Yuya Ando started the game and did not allow a run over seven innings of work.  He did give up six hits.  Ando is slated to make his first regular season start on April 4 (Yakult at Jingu). [Sanspo]

Tuesday's Ni-gun game against Orix at Kobe 2 Stadium (Orix 5 - Hanshin 0): Tatsuya Kojima started the game and allowed two runs on four hits over six innings of work. [Sanspo] ... Kazuya Tsutsui entered the game in the 7th inning and did not allow a run over an inning of work.  He also struck out two. [Sanspo]

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The Tigers held a kick-off party at a hotel in Hyogo after workouts at Kyocera Dome on Wednesday.

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Yasutomo Kubo will be starting a Ni-gun game against Orix on Thursday.  If he does not have any problems during/after the start, he might be able to make first regular season start as planned on April 5 (Yakult Swallows).

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Shinji Komiyama was excused from practices at Kyocera Dome on Wednesday because he was not feeling well.  He is considered day-to-day.

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Matt Murton is currently scheduled to play in an Ikusei game against Seino Unyu (Industrial League) on March 31 at Naruohama.  But before that, he will have to show that he is capable of making strong throws after fielding balls hit to either side; and capable of running the base paths.

On Tuesday, Murton took fifty-one swings during outdoor batting practice and hit three over the fence.  He also started running and took fielding practice in the outfield with his cleats on.

"Batting, no problem.  Fielding, I am fine.  Running, no problem.  No problems at all," said Murton.

On Wednesday, he started running the base paths and took fielding practice in the outfield.

Assuming no setbacks, Murton might be able to rejoin the Ichi-gun team as early as April 6 (vs Yomiuri at Koshien).

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The Tigers decided to send Tomoyuki Kubota down to Ni-gun on Tuesday -- seems they will not have any space for him on the opening day roster.

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Robert Zarate cut his workouts short on Tuesday after complaining of dizziness.  An examination at a hospital revealed no specific conditions.

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The Amagasaki Chuo Shop District put up their Hanshin Tigers 2012 Magic Number display board today (now at 144 games).  The Shop District refrained from displaying the board last year because of the Tohoku Earthquake.

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Yoshinoya, Sanspo, and Murton will be working together again this season to bring Sanspo readers free gyudon meals whenever Murton has a multi-hit game (five winners, ten vouchers each).

Hanshin Tigers: March 6, 2012

by on Mar.06, 2012 @ 11:58 pm, under NPB
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Bullpen Sessions / Batting Practice

Monday

  • Hiroyuki Kobayashi threw fifty-four pitches in the bullpen. (Sanspo)

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Jason Standridge worked out at the indoor training facilities at Koshien today.  He also tossed a light bullpen session.  Standridge last pitched in an game on February 23 (intra-squad).

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Atsushi Nomi could start an exhibition game against the Seibu Lions on March 9.  He is slated to toss about five innings.

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Shinjiro Hiyama wanted to get his eyes used to pitches and stood in against some pitchers tossing sessions in the bullpen today.  He also spent about seventeen minutes taking indoor batting practice.

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Team owner Shinya Sakai, team president Nobuo Minami, OB chairman Kozo Kawato, and others visited Shigisan in Ikoma, Nara today to pray for a successful season.

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Nikkan Sports mentions that Atsushi Nomi and Minoru Iwata will likely get starts during the opening series (March 30 - April 1, vs Yokohama at Kyocera Dome)

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Yutaka Wada worked with Matt Murton on his hitting for about thirty minutes on Monday.

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The Ni-gun team headed to Fukuoka on Monday for two Kyoiku League games against the Softbank Hawks at Gannosu Stadium.  There was some talk about Kohei Shibata traveling with the team to get some playing time on defense, but he ended up staying back and working out at Koshien Stadium.

Said Shibata, "I want to get back to playing defense as soon as possible, but nothing good can come of a situation in which I am still feeling a little uncertain [about my left shoulder].  I will have the coaches and trainer take a look [at my shoulder] again tomorrow."

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Hiroyuki Kobayashi is scheduled to start an exhibition game against the Softbank Hawks on Wednesday.  Depending on how he does, it could also end up being his last chance as a starter.

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Kyuji Fujikawa spent some time hitting grounders to other pitchers during workouts on Monday.

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Ikusei pitcher Robert Zarate was sent back down to Ni-gun on Monday after two back-to-back solid exhibition game outings.

"We [currently] have no plans to pitch Zarate up here again in the immediate future," said pitching coach Takashi Yamaguchi.  He added, "We want him to continue polishing his skill set so that he will be ready to pitch well when we call him up again the next time."

Hanshin Tigers: March 2, 2012

by on Mar.02, 2012 @ 11:55 pm, under NPB
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The Tigers visited Hirota Shrine in Nishinomiya, Hyogo today to pray for a successful season.

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The media learned on Thursday that Daiki Enokida (25) will be marrying a 28-year-old women living in Tokyo.  The two plan to file marriage papers and begin living together in Nishinomiya, Hyogo before the start of the season.

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Ikusei pitcher Robert Zarate will likely have a chance to pitch in an exhibition game on either March 3 or 4 (both games against Orix).  Wei-Chu Lin and Masashi Nohara will also be given a look.

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The Tigers may have 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito (and perhaps other young players) play in up two games a day, depending on the Kyoiku League schedule.  For example, on March 6, the Ichi-gun team plays an evening exhibition game against the Softbank Hawks at Yahoo Dome and the Ni-gun team plays a early afternoon Kyoiku League game against the Softbank Hawk at Gannosu.

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1st round draft pick Ito went 5-for-24 with one RBI in eight games in February.

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Kyuji Fujikawa tells Sanspo readers that he started fiddling with a knuckle ball about a month ago (he has yet to throw it during a bullpen session).

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The Tigers plan on waiting to see how things go with Akihito Fujii over the next week or so before making any decision on what they do next.  Making a trade could be an option, but the team also realizes it will not be easy finding a good replacement since good catchers are usually not available.

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The Hanshin Tigers Official 2012 Yearbook will go on sale March 23.

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Via Sanspo: The 2012 version of Sounds of Koshien Stadium (CD) will be released on March 21.

Hanshin Tigers: Keiichi Hirano puts salary offer on hold, still not satisfied

by on Jan.12, 2012 @ 3:05 pm, under NPB
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Keiichi Hirano met with the Hanshin Tigers for a second time today and held off on agreeing to a deal for the 2012 season.  The Tigers did not raise their initial offer of 180M yen (up 20M) plus incentives after Hirano asked if the incentives could be guaranteed.  Despite this, he was hopeful that their next meeting would go much better because he had a chance to express his ideas to the new GM, Eiichi Takano.

NOTE: made some corrections to the story.

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Akihito Fujii worked out at his alma mater Kinki University today.  Workouts included playing catch, taking fielding practice, and BP.

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Takahiro Arai worked both his upper and lower body at Athlete (gym in Hiroshima) on Wednesday.  While Arai usually spend most of January working with weight, he also plans to spend some time at Koshien taking fielding practice and BP (one of his goals this winter is to improve his throwing).

FWIW: Arai managed five squats at 160kg and ten squats at 150kg.  His personal high from the past, eight squats at 170kg.

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Kenji Jojima suggested that Shunsuke try catching with his right and throwing with his left during practices on Wednesday.

Shunsuke spent about 10 minutes taking fielding practice in center after about two hours of warm-up exercises and trunk strengthening exercises.

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During practices on Wednesday, Jojima played catch at a max distance of 50 meters (the longest distance since his surgery) and also took fielding practice at third, short, and the outfield.  Jojima also admitted that he already spoke to Yutaka Wada about playing first.

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Shinjiro Hiyama's workouts on Wednesday included 25 minutes each on a treadmill and stationary bike, right shoulder/arm exercises, and left shoulder exercises.  After that, he threw the ball around about 50 times (without wearing a glove and catching the ball).  Hiyama is also thinking about starting batting practice during his second stint in Guam.  And trainer Yasunori Gonda told reporters he felt Hiyama could soon begin taking soft toss BP with his right hand.

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The Tigers are thinking about having Ikusei pitcher Robert Zarate attend Ichi-gun spring camp in Okinawa.  The Tigers are happy with his potential as an Ichi-gun pitcher, but are also be worried about his struggles with the colder weather.

Shortly after Zarate signed with the team in November 2010, he caught a cold and had to take some time off during fall camp.  During Ni-gun spring camp in Aki, Kochi a few months later, he developed pains in his left arm that may have been brought on by the colder weather.

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The media learned on Wednesday that Shinta Hifumi will be converted to a position player because things are not going well with his right shoulder.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito told reporters on Wednesday that he looked forward to facing Yuki Saito (HAM).

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Former Hanshin Tigers Kodai Sakurai would like to continue playing and may be willing to head overseas (like Taiwan and Korea).  On Wednesday, Sakurai, and a number of other players like Shuhei Takada and Shintaro Tanaka, rented out Rinkai Park Baseball Field for 6,000 yen for two hours of workout time.

Hanshin Tigers Spring Camp News and Notes: February 15, 2011

by on Feb.15, 2011 @ 10:56 am, under NPB
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This post will be updated throughout the day.

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Today's practice game against the Kochi Fighting Dogs (Ni-gun):

Koji Yoshioka (Ikusei) started the game and pitched 5 shutout innings while giving up 2 hits.

Shintaro Tanaka (Ikusei) hit a 2-run homer out to left-center in the 4th inning with 2 out.

Kosei Fujii (Ikusei) hit a 2-run homer in the 7th.

===== 2/15 @ 9:50pm

The Tigers announced that Robert Zarate was diagnosed with minor internal bruise in his left biceps brachii muscle (上腕二頭筋の軽度の挫傷).  Zarate complained of tightness in his left arm during practice on the 12th and went to the hospital on the team's day off yesterday for an MRI.  The Tigers have decided to shut Zarate down until the pain subsides.

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Yasutomo Kubo held a press conference today to formally announce that he signed a contract with the Tigers for the 2011 season.  As mentioned before, he signed a deal that was reportedly worth 180M yen (up 92M yen over last year).

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Tomoaki Kanemoto took 61 swings during BP today and hit 1 over the fence.

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Takahiro Arai took 116 swings during lunchtime BP today and hit 36 over the fence.

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Daiki Enokida (1st round) threw 131 pitches in the bullpen today.  He also mixed in all his off-speed pitches: curve, slider, cutter, screwball, and fork.  This was Enokida's first 100+ pitch bullpen session this spring.

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Atsushi Nomi threw 100 pitches in the bullpen today.  Nomi wasn't too satisfied with the outing and told reporters that he couldn't find any consistency with his pitches.

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Jojima caught some pitchers in the bullpen today (standing).  He also did some running and took some BP indoors.

===== 2/15 @ 10:56am

Now that Jeff Williams has decided to retire, the Tigers will begin talking to him about a US-based scouting job.  At this point, it seems Williams is interested in working with the Tigers.

Incidentally, it seems Williams was feeling 100% healthy at the start of the year, but then started feeling some pain in his left shoulder toward the end of January.  He took 2 weeks of and restarted his rehab, but the pain still remained.  Williams got an MRI and doctors found what appears to be a new injury that could take over 6 months for a full recovery.

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Ken Nishimura may not be able to pitch in any games (or game-like practices) until March.  Nishimura started spring at Ni-gun camp so that he could take things slow after appearing in 65 games last year.  But because he hasn't managed to get things going yet, the Tigers don't want to push him too hard.  At this point, he will probably be sent down to Naruohama with the rest of the Ni-gun group when Ni-gun camp ends on the 22nd.  And if he tosses any BP, it'll probably be at Naruohama.

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The Tigers plan on holding a meeting to discuss Kenji Jojima's rehab schedule once the Ichi-gun team begins the second leg of their training camp from Aki, Kochi (which begins on the 19th).  The meeting will probably involve the coaches / manager, the trainer, and Jojima.

Jojima - "I first need to speak to the coaches.  I need to figure out what kinds of things they want me to work on.  And I think they also need to see how well I'm moving in order for them to make some decisions."

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Akinobu Mayumi told reporters yesterday that he more or less has an idea of who the first four starting pitchers are in the rotation.

"This year it'll be easy to decide, or rather, it has already been decided, which pitchers will take the first four spots in the rotation.  But I guess it was the same last year.  I still can't take a breather."

Sanspo figures it to be Yasutomo Kubo, Atsushi Nomi, Jason Standridge, and Minoru Iwata.

It appears Mayumi may have also reset the clock on the starting center field job as well.  After both Katsuhiko Saka and Shunsuke Fujikawa had bad games against the Yakult Swallows on Sunday, Mayumi may not be convinced they're ready for the job.  That means other players might still have a chance.  As of now, Saka will probably be in center and Shunsuke in left for tomorrow's practice game against the Nippon Ham Fighters (same setup as Sunday's game).

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Randy Messenger's 2011 Sanspo Tigers' Promise - to hit at least on home run during the season.  If Messenger doesn't make good on the promise, he'll give Sanspo a few autographed items.  If he manages to hit a home run, Sanspo will give Messenger some children's clothing.

Messenger's 2010 promise was to either record 13 holds or 17 hold points.  Sanspo was promised autographed items, but the righty said that there was no deal because he was converted into a starter partway through the season (26 games, 14 starts).

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Tomoaki Kanemoto and Kyuji Fujikawa both received a team high of 15 boxes of chocolateShinobu Fukuhara received 11 boxes; and the Arai brothers each received 7 boxes.

Hanshin Tigers Spring Camp News and Notes: February 8, 2011

by on Feb.08, 2011 @ 12:46 pm, under NPB
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This post will be updated throughout the day.

===== 2/9 @ 1:54am

Kyuji Fujikawa's day started at 8:30am.  It began with a walk around the stadium area that ended in a full run.  The rest of his practice day included weight training and trunk strengthening exercises.  He also stood on his right leg (inflammation in his right hip adductor muscle) for about 30 seconds.

===== 2/9 @ 12:09am

Minoru Iwata threw 105 pitches in the bullpen today.

===== 2/8 @ 10:00pm

Jojima ran a 40 meter dash today and told reporters he was just preparing himself for the next block of spring camp and that everything was going as planned.

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18 of the 62 pitches Enokida threw during BP yesterday were hit foul.  And despite only throwing fastball, he did do a few things to help keep things fresh, like pitching in and out of the stretch, changing the how high he raised his leg, and mixing speeds on his fastball.

===== 2/8 @ 12:46pm

Yasutomo Kubo came to terms with the Tigers today.  They agreed on a 2011 salary reportedly worth 180M yen (up 92M yen).  Kubo is expected the sign his name to the deal within the next couple of days.

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Daiki Enokida (1st round) faced Shinji Komiyama and Masashi Nohara during BP yesterday and threw 62 pitches (all fastballs) while giving up 8 could-be hits.  Enokida is currently scheduled to pitch in a practice game against the Nippon Ham Fighters on the 16th.

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Robert Zarate faced Ikusei players Shintaro Tanaka and Yusuke Kuroda during BP yesterday and threw 39 pitches while giving up 1 could-be hit.  17 of his 39 pitches also went for balls.

Zarate is scheduled to toss another BP on the 10th and if everything is ok, he could pitch in practice game on the 15th against Kochi (Island League).

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Takahiro Arai took 124 swings of the bat during lunchtime BP yesterday and his 32 over the fence.

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Craig Brazell swung the bat 52 times during BP yesterday and hit 14 over the fence; Matt Murton took 78 swings and hit 8 over the fence.

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Ryota Arai hit his second BP homer off Kosuke Kato yesterday.  His first BP homer came off Tatsuya Kojima on the 6th.

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Kenji Jojima started to take things a little slow yesterday (worked out for about 5 hours) because he plans on ramping things up a little more during the third block of camp and didn't want to push himself too hard before the end of the second block of camp.

Said Jojima, "I'm going to raise the bar for the third block of camp so I want to avoid pushing my body too hard now.  If I can start running I can also starting taking grounders and BP [against live arms].  I'll be able to do more things, one by one, until I'm doing everything a baseball player normally does."

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Tomoaki Kanemoto is expected to start taking BP outdoors beginning on the 10th (start of the third block of camp).  For practice yesterday, Kanemoto swung the bat 50 times in the cages while checking on video footage of his swing.  After playing catch at a distance of about 15 meters (45 tosses), he did some running at the secondary field.

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Atsushi Nomi faced Shunsuke Fujikawa and Yamato during BP yesterday and threw 60 pitches (all fastballs) while giving up 8 could-be hits.

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Takashi Toritani took 107 swings during BP and hit 28 over the fence yesterday.  During situational BP, Toritani worked on moving runners up and even executed a squeeze play.

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Shinta Hifumi (2nd round) told reporters yesterday that he had been throwing with discomfort in his right shoulder since the summer.

Said team trainer Kazuhiro Sugimoto, "It's possible for him to throw, but we don't want him to destroy his shoulder.  We aren't going to set a deadline for his next bullpen session."

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GM Shoji Numasawa told reporters yesterday that the Tigers will be holding a meeting today to finalize their protected player list.  Team president Nobuo Minami and Akinobu Mayumi, and Numasawa are expected to take part in the meeting.