Japan’s 10 February preseason games scheduled to be played in Okinawa Prefecture to closed practice games, Nippon Professional Baseball’s secretary general Atsushi Ihara said Monday according to Sponichi Annex.
Japan is currently under a state of emergency until at least March 7, although Okinawa intends to lift its emergency status after Feb. 28. Preseason games after that date are still expected to take place with crowds limited to 5,000, while Ihara said that since the government currently wants people to return home after 8 p.m., all preseason games held where there is a state of emergency will be played in the day.
GM Ishii playing catch-up
In Kin, Okinawa Prefecture, Masahiro Tanaka became the pitcher with the second-highest career win total to throw a bullpen at the Rakuten Eagles camp, when manager and general manager Kazuhisa Ishii threw 37 pitches, Sponichi Annex reported Monday.
The 47-year-old Ishii, whose 182 career wins in Japan and the majors are five more than the 32-year-old Tanaka has from his years with the Eagles and New York Yankees, wanted some practice before throwing live BP during the third phase of the Eagles training camp.
“I quit when I stopped wanting to play baseball, and I didn’t think I’d start again. By throwing (BP) I’ll be able to communicate with players from within the game itself,” said Ishii, who spent time that morning sprinting up a slope on the auxiliary field.
“I’ve been aging but I want to keep my body in good shape. The players are all well conditioned and I want to be able to keep up.”
Dragons count Viciedo among the healthy
Chunichi Dragons first baseman Dayan Viciedo, has bounced back from a dislocated left shoulder, according to those who count BP home runs in spring camp. At the Central League club’s minor league camp in Yomitan, Okinawa, four of Viciedo’s 45 swings launched balls over the outfield fence, Tokyo Sports reported.
Viciedo hurt the shoulder playing defense in an Oct. 28 game against the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium.
Fukudome also trying to keep up
Kosuke Fukudome, the oldest active player in NPB at the age of 43, is back with the Dragons this season for the first time since 2006, and is also trying to keep up with the kids.
In other news:
Seibu’s dome remake to include home run bar
New seating at Seibu Dome, which is getting a makeover ahead of the season with new turf, seats in the outfield that had been artificial turf and before the roof was constructed, grass. On Monday the club introduced the Meito Home Run Bar Panorama Terrace, 140 places in right field equipped with swivel-chair bar seating and the corporate sponsorship of the Meito chocolate company.
BayStars holding another clinic for women
The DeNA BayStars said Monday it will hold another clinic aimed at women players at its minor league indoor facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb. 20 with Eri “The knuckle princess” Yoshida and former pro player Yu Kato—among the three women instructors.
Word out of Boston…
… is that right-handed free-agent reliever Hirokazu Sawamura’s talks with the Boston Red Sox are progressing, according to Chris Cotillo.