officials are lamenting the fact that they didn't sell out the upcoming
two game series with Hanshin, as 18,000 tickets combined remain unsold
for the 18th and 19th. I think there are three things at work: one, Nagoya
Dome itself is just a boring place to see a game; two, the Dragons have
all the pizzazz of a trip to McDonald's. three, well, I hate to say, it,
but c'mon, Nagoya? Tokyo and Hiroshima offers intimate outdoor ballparks,
Meiji Jingu Stadium and Hiroshima Municipal Stadium and Tokyo is a more
fun place to go generally than Nagoya. Yeah, the Dragons have Ochiai, but
people don't go to games to see the manager. Sorry guys.
According to Nikkan Sports, Masahiro Yamamoto is likely to start Saturday's game against Hiroshima at Yonego, Tottori Prefecture.
Hanshin With Hiroshima ace Hiroki Kuroda qualifying for free agency this season, the Tigers, who need to get a little younger in that department with Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi currently in the rotation, are going to take a run at him. The Carp are unlikely to be unable to afford to keep him if he decides to jump. He also gives them another all star quality veteran presence if Kei Igawa is posted.
The club will dispatch a trainer to visit Jeff Williams, who is back in Arizona rehabbing his surgically repaird knee. Williams has begun light throwing.
Atsushi Nomi got hit real hard in his recent attempt at filling the spot Williams used to occupy, so he has been removed from that role and Takehito Kanazawa will be inserted in his stead.
Chris Oxspring will start on Wednesday against Chunichi. He tuned up with a side session Monday.
Hiroshima After doing it early in his career, outfielder Tomonori Maeda apparently expressed to manager Marty Brown that he just can't adapt to hitting in the two hole after years and years of hitting in the middle of the order. So Brown will rejigger his lineup in hopes it will improve Maeda's anemic .213 batting average, dropping him down to number five.
The team itself it batting a mere .209 and is averaging 1.7 runs a game.
Yakult Righthander Yuya Kamada could soon be in a Rakuten uniform. The Eagles have reportedly asked about a Kamada for cash deal. Kamada was a number two draft choice out of Waseda University back in 2001 and just hasn't been able to find the ingredients necessary that would make him stick at the big club level. He suffered a shoulder injury last season and didn't pitch at all with the top team. He is 11-12 with a 3.97 ERA lifetime.
Yomiuri Takahiko Nomaguchi will start against Yakult on the 19th and then will go back into middle relief once Masumi Kuwata and Kimiyasu Kudoh come off a stint on the disabled list for a minor ankle sprain and a broken finger blister respectively.
Manager Tatsunori Hara's career both as a player and as a manger will be celebrated in a new set of stamps that will be coming out soon. Each sheet contains ten stamps and goes for 2940 yen. For more information, call (in Japanese) 3-3230-4481.
Former Seibu outfielder Tatsuya Ozeki had his introductory press conference Monday. He will make 45 million yen ($375,000 or thereabouts).
Outfielder Yoshinobu Takahashi was examined again Monday and diagnosed with a minor oblique pull. Even so, he isn't going to be even be allowed to hit off of a tee for another three weeks.
Jeremy Powell will start Tuesday against Yakult at Kurashiki Muskat Stadium in Okayama.
Lefthander Hisanori Takahashi has started eating solid food again after suffering a cheekbone fracture during a game with the Swallows earlier in the schedule. He will begin working out again very lightly on the 21st.
Practice in the hotel parking lot? That is what the Giants did Monday for a while, as players worked on their swings while hotel guests and other passersby looked on. This is apparently something Seibu used to do, often times after games. So it was proposed by Hara's bench coach and they gave it a go. And, being Japan, there was no security around to keep fans from approaching players nor was anybody bothered.
Miscellaneous Representatives of the two leagues met Monday and it looks as if the Pacific League will indeed go to 146 games next season from the 136 now. This is being done so that regular and post season formats are uniform. The players union has come out against the 146 game schedule, but their opinion isn't going to count nor are they expected to put up any resistance to it.
White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi went 3-5 Monday against Kansas City with two strikeouts. The White Sox won 9-0.
Kazuhito Tadano came on in relief for Oakland's AAA affiliate, Sacramento in the first game of a twin bill with Las Vegas Monday and went two innings of two run ball on five hits and struckout four.
Also in the minors, Mets second baseman Kazuo Matsui doubled in four trips up against Scranton as his rehab form a knee injury continues.
Cardinals outfielder So Taguchi had two infield hits in five at bats Monday against Pittsburgh in a 2-1 victory.
Hideo Nomo finally made his debut for Charlotte, a farm team of the White Sox, against Pawtucket and was charged with four runs on three hits in a little over three innings. Butthen again, he didn't really have the benefit of a real spring training, so he may take some time to get back into game shape.
Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima was elevated from the seven to the five hole in the order and singled twice in four at bats against Boston in an 11 a.m. game EST at Fenway Park. Rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki doubled and was intentionally walked his five times up and he also racked up an RBI groundout. The two bagger was the only knock for Suzuki in the four game series. The M's lost it in the ninth on a two run walkoff homer by Mark Loretta off of Eddie Guardado.