First bullet points of the new year... let's get started.
- The Tadahito Iguchi rumor mill is heating up a little. According to Nikkan Sports by way of Sports Nifty, the Chiba Lotte Marines are prepared to start the negotiations at 2 years, 400m yen ($4.4m at the current exchange rate). The article speculates that they could go a little higher as they have the diasppointing Julio Zuleta's 260m yen ($2.86m) annual salary coming off the books.
- Nikkan Sports reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka will be training with his former team, the Seibu Lions in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Matsuzaka will train with Seibut at his own request.
- Nippon Ham manager Masataka Nashida has announced that Yu Darvish will be his opening day starter. Not really news, but it'll be a tight schedule with the WBC wrapping up shortly beforehand. In the same breathe, Nashida said that he wants to face Hanshin in the Japan Series this year.
- Yomiuri Giants reliever and 2008 R0Y Tetsuya Yamaguchi will be doing his pre-camp training in Arizona at the Fischer Sports Gym, where Randy Johnson works out in the offseason. In other training news, Yakult reliever Ryota Igarashi is also heading to Arizona to train at the same gym Nomar Garciaparra uses.
- The Hiroshima Carp have been flooded with a deluge of orders for their new uniform.
- The Saitama Seibu Lions are changing their look that's suited them pretty well over the years. Simon isn't a fan, and I have to say neither am I.
- Deanna racked up quite an impressive pile of ticket stubs in 2008.
- 2008 Sawamura Award winner Hisashi Iwakuma signed a 3-year, 1.1bn yen ($12.1m) deal with the Rakuten Eagles. This is a rare case of a top player getting a multi-year deal prior to reaching free agency in Japan.
- Jim Allen has a couple of players to watch in 2009.