It's the first week of February and pouring rain in the Bay Area, but NPB spring training camps are kicking into full gear. Here are some news and notes from around the league. All of the below articles are in Japanese.
- Let the wear and tear begin: new Chiba Lotte Marine Takumi Nasuno threw a 300 pitch bullpen session the other day, bringing his total for the four days he's spent in camp to 646. In what Sponichi referred to as "Bobby-free" Lotte had six pitchers throw over 200 pitches on Feb 5. The article explains that this was in contrast to Bobby Valentine's practice of limited bullpen sessions to 20 minutes at a time. I have to question the wisdom of working pitchers like that this early in camp, after several years of getting more rest under Valentine.
- Chiba Lotte also signed former Hanshin infielder Makoto Imaoka after a brief trial in camp. Imaoka gets a 15m yen salary for 2010.
- Having so far failed to attract any offers, 38 year-old infielder Toshihisa Nishi is planning on working out in front of MLB scouts in the near future.
- Chunichi rookie Ryoji Nakata, who was already chunky at 115 kg, has put on 3 kg since getting into camp.
- Here's a video interview with Yusei Kikuchi, who is now professionally known simply as Yusei.
- Kyuji Fujikawa has finally signed for 2010, getting a 400m yen salary. Kyuji paid his own way ｔhrough camp up to this point.
And finally, Brandon Siefken of Japan Baseball News is kicking off a monthly newsletter in April. Each month's issue will include a spreadsheet of statistical data. You can get the full details here and subscribe here.