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Eagles' future in air: Sendai-based team practices while facing uncertain future

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Eagles' future in air: Sendai-based team practices while facing uncertain future

by Jim Allen (Mar 14, 2011)

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, whose biggest concern is the well being of their families in Sendai, carried on with their preparations for the uncertain season ahead.

After holding meetings on Sunday morning at their hotel, the Eagles held a somber workout at the Yomiuri Giants' minor league facility in Kawasaki.

All of Nippon Professional Baseball's weekend exhibition games were canceled following Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Tohoku Region.

"We were in Sendai a week and a half ago, it's tough to see people in a city you play for professionally, see a big tragedy like that," Eagles slugger Randy Ruiz said. "It hurts me."

The Eagles will practice again tomorrow at Yokohama Stadium, where they were originally scheduled to play an exhibition game.

"We just have to get in the best condition we can and adjust the best we can," Rakuten team representative Jun Yoneda said Sunday.

"We want to get playing so we can bolster the spirits of the people of the Tohoku region."

The Eagles' ballpark, Nippon Seishi Kleenex Stadium was inspected by team officials on Saturday and the club reported damage to the field, water pipes and the bridge connecting the stadium to the clubhouse.

"As for when it will be repaired, we'll have specialists in to examine it," Yoneda said. "We will then report the situation to the [Pacific League] board of directors meeting on the 15th. That's when we'll make a decision.

"There are lots of factors, it's not just the facility. There's the transportation and the infrastructure, not to mention the whole general situation in the area. We have to take that into account."

Meanwhile, the players practiced despite the desire to be with their families.

"Everyone would like to go back to Sendai, but there's really no way to manage that," Eagles official Ryo Iwakoshi told The Daily Yomiuri. "We all have jobs to do."

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