Camp Fires Feb. 6, 2021

The news from spring training camps, especially at the start, typically borders on being non-existent, in start contrast to the massive amount of reporting that Feb. 1 brings.

Representatives of the media from national outlets to their smaller cousins who cover their local teams are always there in force from Day 1, but their numbers dwindle as reporters rotate back to their office desks after a week or so in sunnier climes.

This year’s news is mostly about who’s away from camp after either being infected with the coronavirus, or being determined a close contact of someone testing positive. But there are a few things that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention.

Spring fever

Although fans are back at Japan’s spring training sites, a number of players and coaches are not.

The Chunichi Dragons’ Chatan, Okinawa, camp has been disrupted after new manger Kazuyoshi Tatsunami and battery coach Shuji Nishiyama tested positive on Wednesday, and the entire major league coaching staff were determined to be close contacts.

Since Saturday, the major league camp has been under the direction of the farm team manager, Tatsunami’s former PL Gakuen High School teammate Atsushi Kataoka and the minor league coaches.

The Yakult Swallows began their camp without manager Shingo Takatsu, who was designated as a close contact, while CL MVP Munetaka Murakami reported to the Swallows minor league camp after testing positive in January.

In Nago, Okinawa, the Nippon Ham Fighters have been practicing with masks on, with the exception of pitchers throwing in the bullpen.

The Seibu Lions on Wednesay suspended one part of their minor league camp in Kochi, after Shogo Akada, their farm outfield and base running coach tested positive. Training among another group of players resumed the next day.

The DeNA BayStars coaches who are quarantining have been following and directing activities with the use of tablet computers.

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