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Hanshin Tigers: April 3, 2012

by on Apr.03, 2012 @ 11:40 pm, under NPB
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Takahiro Arai took about forty minutes of extra fielding practice on Monday.

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Hiroki Uemoto (left elbow) had his cast removed a few days ago.

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Ryo Watanabe started working out again on Saturday after missing time because he was not feeling well.  He tossed a bullpen session on Monday and told reporters he was feeling fine.  Watanabe should now be available to pitch out of the bullpen.

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According to Nikkan SportsTomoaki Kanemoto is 8-for-26 with three homers and ten RBI on his birthday (April 3).

Hanshin Tigers: April 2, 2012

by on Apr.02, 2012 @ 11:41 pm, under NPB
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Tomoaki Kanemoto became the sixth player in NPB history to hit a homer in the year they turned forty-four.  Kanemoto turned forty-four on Tuesday.

He also became the sixteenth player in NPB history to hit at least one homer in twenty straight seasons.

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Takahiro Arai had a rough game on Sunday.  With runners on first and third and two out in the 4th inning, he committed an error on a grounder to third that allowed the Yokohama Bay Stars to score the first run of the game.  At the plate, he struck out looking with runners on second and third with two out in the 6th inning.

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Matt Murton during Sunday's Ikusei game against NTT Nishi Nippon: 2-for-2, one walk, one RBI, one stolen base.

Murton worked out with the Ichi-gun team today and is expected to play in the Yakult series that begins on Tuesday.

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The Tigers decided to demote Kai-Wen Cheng on Sunday.

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TV Ratings for the home opener (Kansai region, 19:00-20:54): 14.8%.

Hanshin Tigers: March 21, 2012

by on Mar.21, 2012 @ 11:57 pm, under NPB
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Today's Ni-gun game against Chunichi at Nagoya Stadium (Hanshin 7 - Chunichi 1): Kai-Wen Cheng started the game and tossed five shutout innings while allowing five hits.  He did not walk a batter. [Daily Sports]

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Tomoaki Kanemoto was in the starting line-up at left against the Hiroshima Carp at Kyocera Dome today.  He is also scheduled to play left on March 23 and 24, both games against the Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito made a minor adjustment to his hitting mechanics where he is transferring his weight to his back foot a little earlier than before.

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Randy Messenger on where he currently is, via Sanspo: "I am at 92-95% right now.  I think you guys like it when I tell you how I am feeling specifically, like this, right?  *laughter* I am not too happy about my fastball right now, but I am feeling good about my curve."

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A little more on Hirokazu Shiranita's Ni-gun outing on Tuesday: he threw seventy-one pitches over six shutout innings and allowed three hits and struck out five.

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Chief trainer told reporters that they will not make an announcement on how long it will take Matt Murton to make a full recovery.

Yutaka Wada told reporters on Tuesday that he may not set an everyday right-fielder while Murton is out -- he may switch outfielders up based on the pitcher.  At least until 

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According to Sanspo, the first four spots in the rotation could go: Atsushi Nomi, Jason Standridge, Minoru Iwata, and Messenger.

====== UPDATE 3/22 @ 12:39am

Yasutomo Kubo was scratched from his exhibition game start on Wednesday because of the flu and may not be able to make the opening day starting rotation.  If that happens, the Tigers will need to consider other options that include Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Kazuhito Futagami, and Naoto Tsuru.

Hanshin Tigers: March 20, 2012

by on Mar.20, 2012 @ 11:58 pm, under NPB
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Today's Ni-gun game against the Chunichi Dragons, at Nagoya Stadium: Hirokazu Shiranita started the game and tossed six shutout innings while allowing three hits.  He also did not walk anyone and topped out at 144km/h. [Daily Sports] ... Shinjiro Hiyama entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning and hit an infield single.  He was immediately replaced by a pinch-runner. [Daily Sports]

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The Tigers announced today that both Yasutomo Kubo and Kazuya Tsutsui contracted the flu.

On Monday, the players, coaches, and staff wore surgical masks as they traveled to Takamatsu.

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Sanspo reports that Tomoaki Kanemoto will make the opening day line-up in left, batting sixth.

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1st round draft pick Hayata Ito will most likely be with the Ichi-gun team for the remaining exhibition games.

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Akihito Fujii is hoping to play in as many remaining pre-season games as possible in order to shake off the rust.

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Sanspo Tigers Promise: Daiki Enokida is aiming to drop his road ERA to 2.20 or better this season (down from 4.40 last year). If Enokida can not make good on his promise, he will play catch with with a Sanspo reader.

Hanshin Tigers: March 19, 2012

by on Mar.19, 2012 @ 11:56 pm, under NPB
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Shinjiro Hiyama is scheduled to travel with the Ni-gun team on their three-game road trip against Chunichi that begins on Tuesday.

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Minoru Iwata will likely pitch in one more game before the start of the regular season: against the Seattle Mariners on March 25.

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The Tigers decided to send Takashi Shimizu to Ni-gun on Sunday to make room for Akihito Fujii.

Fujii worked out at Naruohama before heading to Marugame, Kagawa today.  He is slated to play in tomorrow's exhibition game against the Hiroshima Carp.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto temporarily returned to Osaka on Saturday and worked out at Koshien on Sunday.  He will rejoin the Ichi-gun team on Wednesday. 

Hanshin Tigers: March 18, 2012

by on Mar.18, 2012 @ 11:42 pm, under NPB
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Today's Kyoiku League game against Softbank, at Naruohama: 2nd round draft pick Hiroaki Saiuchi entered the game in the 6th and allowed a run (on a solo homer) one hit over an inning of work.  5th round draft pick Ryoma Matsuda tossed a shutout inning in relief and struck out two in a row. [Nikkan Sports]

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Randy Messenger's next start will likely be against the Hiroshima Carp (at Rexxam Stadium) on March 20.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto is scheduled to start Wednesday's game against the Hiroshima (at Kyocera Dome) in left. He did not play in today's game against Seibu and will not play in tomorrow's game against Hiroshima.

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Akihito Fujii and Shinjiro Hiyama played in a Kyoiku League game against Softbank today.  Fujii was the starting catcher and played through to the 5th inning and did not have a hit in two trips to the plate.  Hiyama entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the the 5th inning with runners on first and second and flied out to center.  He remained in the game as a DH and struck out swinging in his second at bat in the 8th.

Fujii could rejoin the Ichi-gun team on Tuesday and play in a game as early as Wednesday.

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Hiroki Uemoto started working out at Naruohama on Saturday.  Uemoto currently has his left elbow in a brace  (will need it for about three weeks) and will do exercises that focus on other parts of his body.  His workouts over the next two weeks or so will likely be limited to indoor exercises.

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Kyuji Fujikawa took a ball off his left leg during fielding practice on Saturday.  He was ok, but jokingly dragged his foot and told reporters that he was going to pitch even if his leg was broken.

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Matt Murton apparently tweaked his left hamstring during Friday's game against the Chiba Lotte Marines.  While the injury does not seem to be serious (Yutaka Wada told reporters he would be playing if this were the regular season), it is what it is and the team is playing it safe.  There is no set timetable for his return, but he could be back with the Ichi-gun sometime on or after March 21.

NOTE: Craig Brazell told reporters that while he had no interest in playing right because he was a first baseman, he would prepare accordingly since things can change during the season.

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Shunsuke returned to Osaka on Saturday because of fever (not the flu).

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Minoru Iwata worked out at the indoor training facilities at Koshien on Saturday and told reporters he really wanted more time to pitch before the start of the regular season (too much practice, not enough games).

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Takahiro Arai usually takes about eight minutes of batting practice, but on Saturday, he pushed that to about twenty minutes.

====== UPDATE @ 11:52pm JST

It seems there is a little more to the Fujikawa story...  According to Sponichi, Fujikawa was assisting with fielding practice drills by catching baseballs thrown in from fielders when Kazuya Tsutsui made an errant throw that bounced off the area above his left knee.  Fujikawa dropped to the ground and was later seen dragging his left foot around.  As he climbed into the bus he jokingly said, "I was taken out by Tsutsui.  Whatever.  I am actually ok."

Fujikawa must have really been ok since he tossed one shutout inning in relief against the Seibu Lions today.

Hanshin Tigers: March 15, 2012

by on Mar.15, 2012 @ 11:56 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice

Wednesday

  • Situational batting practice: Akihito Fujii went 1-for-6 and Shinjiro Hiyama went 2-for-5 with a walk. (Sanspo, Sanspo)

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4th round draft pick Kazuo Ito (coming back from right shoulder discomfort) played some outdoor catch at Naruohama today -- he threw thirty baseballs about a max distance of about fifteen meters.

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Akihito Fujii is expected to play in a Kyoiuku League game on March 17.  Depending on how that goes, he could be given the green light to rejoin the Ichi-gun roster and play against the Hiroshima Carp on March 20.

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Hiroyuki Kobayashi was originally scheduled to toss three innings against the Yakult Swallows on Wednesday but instead went just two innings.  He will get to pitch his third inning against the Chiba Lotte Marines (at QVC) on Friday.

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Keiichi Hirano was back in the line-up again on Wednesday after missing two games with right knee pain.

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Of the fifteen pitches Kyuji Fujikawa threw on Wednesday, four were cutters.  He threw the pitch only a handful of times last year.  Fujikawa told reporters he does not plan to throw the cutter during the season.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto started/played left for the first time this year on Wednesday.  He is also slated to play left on the 17th, 21st, 23rd, and 24th.

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The coaches were upset that Craig Brazell did not run more aggressively into second (as in, why he did not slide) in the 2nd inning of Wednesday's game against the Yakult Swallows.  Brazell later explained that his foot got caught.

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Through Wednesday, Kenji Jojima was 9-for-19 with one homer and two RBI over eight exhibition games.

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The front office was informed on Wednesday that season ticket sales so far have come in under initial expectations.  Team owner Shinya Sakai told reporters he felt it might have something to do with the team not making any major moves during the winter, other than hire a new manager, and with the way they have played their exhibition games so far.

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Meiji University beat the Ni-gun Hanshin Tigers, 5-1, on Wednesday.  Shun Ishikawa (Meiji) hit a three-run homer off Robert Zarate in the 7th inning.

Hanshin Tigers: March 14, 2012

by on Mar.14, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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Batting Practice

Wednesday

  • Situational batting practice: Akihito Fujii collected one hit and a walk in five trips to the plate: single to center off Kosuke Kato. (Daily Sports)
  • Situational batting practice: Shinjiro Hiyama collected two hits and a walk in four trips to the plate: singles to center off Yusuke Kawasaki and Shingo Matsuzaki. (Daily Sports)

Tuesday

  • Shinjiro Hiyama took seventy swings during batting practice and collected twenty-one could-be hits. (Sanspo)

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The Tigers have played ten exhibition games and lost three of them by the score of 1-0.

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The Tigers will likely begin to play their veterans more often, beginning with their road trip to the Kanto area on Thursday.  That means younger players will have fewer opportunities to prove they belong on the opening day roster.

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Tomoaki Kanemoto did not play left on Tuesday because of the cold weather but did manage to play some left during today's exhibition game against the Yakult Swallows and committed a fielding error in the third inning.  He also picked up his first exhibition game RBI of the year.

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Yuya Ando's first regular season start could come on either April 1 (vs Yokohama at Kyocera Dome) or during the second series of the season (vs Yakult at Jingu, April 3-5).

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In addition to taking situational batting practice today, Akihito Fujii also got behind the plate and worked on his throws to second base.

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Shinjiro Hiyama worked out in center during fielding practices today.

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With Yuya Ando pitching well, the Tigers are now thinking about moving Hiroyuki Kobayashi back to the bullpen.  Kobayashi pitched against the Yakult Swallows today and gave up a run on one hit over two innings of work.

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The Hanshin Tigers will likely continue to give 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito a few more looks during their four-game Kanto road trip: March 15 vs Yokohama, March 16 vs Lotte, March 17 vs Yakult, and March 18 vs Seibu.

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Hiroki Uemoto was excused from practices today due to a possible injury he suffered during yesterday's exhibition game against the Yakult Swallows: while playing second base in the 6th inning, he collided with a runner trying to steal second and may have injured his left elbow; he was taken out of the game in the 7th.

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The Yakult Swallows stole four bases after the 5th inning of yesterday's exhibition game.  Battery coach Yasuo Yoshida advised Taichi Okazaki (three runners stole bases while he was catcher) to mix in waste pitches and pick-offs to keep the runners honest and to remind pitchers they should keep an eye on the runners on base.

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Kenji Jojima has been used as a pinch-hitter thirty times during his NPB career (6-for-26 with six RBI).

Hanshin Tigers: March 12, 2012

by on Mar.12, 2012 @ 11:56 pm, under NPB
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The Tigers visited Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyogo today and prayed for a successful season.

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Matt Murton missed his second straight game on Sunday because of pain in his right big toe.  He did return to practices today and is expected to return to the line-up for Wednesday's exhibition game against the Yakult Swallows.

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Sunday's Kyoiku League game against Chunichi at Naruohama: Shunsuke started in center and batted first.  He went 2-for-2.  Shunsuke also played in the exhibition game at Ichi-gun. [Sanspo]

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Tomoaki Kanemoto was supposed to play left during Sunday's exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants but did not because of the cool weather.

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Keiichi Hirano did not play in Sunday's exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants because of a contusion he suffered on his right knee while playing defense during Saturday's game against the Nippon Ham Fighters.  Hirano is scheduled to take part in practices today and is expected to play in Tuesday's game (Yakult).

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Shinjiro Hiyama took fielding practice in the outfield at Naruohama today -- he caught twenty balls hit into the air by Ni-gun coach Yutaka Nakamura; he also wore cleats.

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Akihito Fujii did some long distance throwing (max distance of about seventy meters) on Sunday.  He is still scheduled to take situational batting practice on March 14 and 15.  If everything goes well, he could play in his first game on March 17 (Kyoiku League vs Softbank).

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Yamato may be in the lead for the starting CF job: through fifteen games (exhibition, intra-squad, an practice) he is 16-for-41.

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Sanspo seems to think that 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito may have two games (March 13 and 14, both against Yakult at Koshien) to prove he deserves more looks at Ichi-gun.  If not, he could be sent down to Ni-gun.

Ito is 6-for-33 in practice/exhibition games played through today.

Hanshin Tigers: March 9, 2012

by on Mar.09, 2012 @ 11:59 pm, under NPB
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The Tigers announced today that Ryo Watanabe's wife gave birth to twins on Wednesday.

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Minoru Iwata is slated to start Saturday's exhibition game against the Nippon Ham Fighters.  Iwata has not pitched in a game since February 23 (intra-squad game, two inning outing).

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Atsushi Nomi's start got rained out today.  How it changes his schedule moving forward is not yet know, but as of Thursday, Sanspo notes that he may be slated to start exhibition games on March 16 (vs Lotte at QVC) and March 23 (vs Orix at Kyocera Dome).

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Takahiro Arai plans to play in Saturday's charity game and could take an early morning Shinkansen back to Kansai on Sunday in order to make the 1pm exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants at Koshien.

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The Tigers will be giving 1st round draft pick Hayata Ito a "tryout" in center during an exhibition game against the Nippon Ham Fighters at Koshien on Saturday.  Depending on the results of that game, he could end up being dropped to Ni-gun to get more seasoning.

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It appears other players, like Tomoaki Kanemoto (LF), Craig Brazell (LF) and Kenji Jojima (1B) will also be tested at Koshien to see how well they can play the field.

"We have five games at Koshien so we need to make the best of them.  We also have some players that are learning new positions.  We need them to learn more about how Koshien plays.  They might have an idea of how things are, but that feel might be different when they actually take the field.  I want to check on those things and prepare for opening day" said Yutaka Wada.

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The Tigers do not plan on putting Shinjiro Hiyama on the active roster on opening day unless he has had a chance to play in a number of games.  They want to make sure he is 100% when they activate him.

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Akihito Fujii took batting practice at Naruohama today (team staff threw easy pitches).

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Batting stats, through Thursday (includes practice and intra-squad):

  • Brazell is 4-for-14 with one homer and four RBI over six games.
  • Jojima is 5-for-17 with two homers and five RBI over seven games.
  • 1st round draft pick Ito is 6-for-28 with two RBI.