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03/27/2003 Archived Entry: "Japanese Baseball News: Iranian-Japanese Hurler Darvish Drawing Braves, Mets Interest"

Team Reports

Yomiuri Roberto Petagine went yard 27 times in 85 swings Wednesday in batting practice. Six of those cascaded off of billboards in the deepest reaches of the ballpark. According to Sports Nippon, the former Red is 6-14 with one homer and 14 RBIs in his four opening day games as a member of the Yakult Swallows.... Shortstop Tomohiro Nioka took batting practice Wednesday for the first time since being hit on the bicep Saturday. He swung 70 times and racked up six homers. He's apparently not experiencing any residual pain ....First baseman Kazuhiro Kiyohara took 59 swings in batting pracitice Wednesday. If things go well, he should be back up from the minors to face Yakult April 8....There will be body searches for fans entering Tokyo Dome this season.

Yakult The swelling on catcher Atsuya Furuta's broken finger has worsened. Furuta tried hitting off of batting tee, but that didn't go too well and he skipped regular batting practice.

Chunichi Akinori Otsuka threw an inning in a minor league intrasquad game Wednesday and struckout two hitters looking while walking one in a scoreless, hitless outing. He says that he is at about 90%. It is likely that he will join the big club roster on April 11th for a game against Hiroshima....Both Alex Ochoa and Ivan Cruz homered Wednesday in an intrasquad game at Nagoya Dome.

Hanshin Rightfielder Osamu Hamanaka was 6014 against Yokohama's opening day starter Yuji Yoshimi last season, according to Sports Nippon. He also homered off of Yoshimi when the two faced each other in high school.

Hiroshima Allan Newman will start April 1st against Hanshin. Newman has had the Tigers number in his two years in Japan, posting an ERA of around 2.00....Wanting to be careful witgh Tomoaki Kanemoto's leg after he suffered a calf pull earlier in the spring, the outfielder was forbiddent to steal during exhibition faceoffs. However, he now has the green light.

Yokohama The Stars absorbed four losses against Hanshin ace Kei Igawa last season and in hopes of rectifying that will start Hitoshi Taneda in rightfield. Taneda batted .400 (6-15) against the southpaw in 2002. They will have Hirofumi Ogawa stationed at second...Yuji Yoshimi threw 50 pitches in the bullpen Wednesday as a tune up for opening day and said that he feels good.

Seibu Due to his aching shoulder, Alex Cabrera skipped practice Wednesday. It is now unlikely that he will play opening day. Manager Haruki Ihara said that he isn't worried about not having his big gun in the lineup since he has several players who are gong well right now....Ace Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 61 pitches at a workout Wednesday, working on his slide step....According to Hochi Sports, the Lions will broadcast 22 of its games this season to Taiwan. Seibu has two pitchers from that country, Hsu Ming-chieh and Chang Chia-chia.

Daiei Toshiya Sugiuchi threw against 11 hitters in a simulated game Wednesday and allowed just one hit while striking out four. He said that he was able to throw strikes while using the slide step and his curve ball was sharp....Hiroki Kokubo is going to wait at last a month before having surgery on his knee. He will be re-examined and then depending on the results of that, go from there.

Nippon Ham Itsuki Shoda made an instructional league start Wednesday and went five innings of one run ball on three hits and just 66 pitches. He will start against Lotte on April 1st. Shoda was clocked at 88mph.... Infielder Yukio Tanaka DH'd in that game and went 0-4 with two strikeouts. He is likely to be in the same role opening day for the Fighters.

Lotte Tomohiro Kuroki still isn't feeling all that great and now it will be at least mid-May before he comes back.

Orix For those who hadn't seen this earlier, Makoto Suzuki got tattooed in an instructional league game against Kintetsu Wednesday for seven runs on 14 hits and was demoted to the minors. One of those hits was a grand slam by Fumitoshi Takano on a hanging changeup.

Hideki Matsui Wednesday against Tampa Bay, Matsui went 2-3 to raise his spring average to .333. Both hits were singles....The Japanese advertising firm Dentsu did a callout poll on how 630 residents in a 30 kilometer area of Tokyo believe that Matsui will do in his rookie season as a Yankee and the answer was .305 with 28 homers. Dentsu also asked who Japanese would most like to see try their hand in MLB and 32.4% said Daisuke Matsuzaka while 26.7% said Kazuo Matsui. Among the respondents favorite sports (multiple answers were possible), 57% said pro yakyu, 42.9% said MLB while 31% said J-League soccer.

Koshien Tournament 6'4" Iranian-Japanese Tohoku High School righthander Yu Darvish, despite pitching with an oblique muscle strain, was clocked at 89mph in a four hit 2-1 complete game victory over Hamana High School Wednesday at the Koshien Spring High School Baseball Tournament. Darvish said that the movement on his breaking pitches wasn't very good and his velocity was off, so he wasn't very satisfied. Of playing with the injury, Darvish allowed, "it was so painful I could hardly breathe." A Yomiuri Giants scout commented that "he uses his body well. If he can build his stamina, he will really be scary next year." A Daiei scout evaluated, "his pitches remind me of [Nagisa] Arakaki's. Except that he's a lot more together than Arakaki was at that age." Mets scout Isao Ojimi offered, "he threw a lot of breaking balls today, but he has tremendous potential. If he works hard and sets high goals for himself, it will really be interesting to see him a year from now. He's like a big Pedro Martinez" A Hiroshima scout enthused, "nice arm action. And he still has some room for growth. I'm looking forward to seeing moreof him." Atlanta Braves scout Hiroyuki Ohya remarked, "as he should, he throwns nice and relaxed. You can see notice these things during games. He has good balance and potential I look forward to seeing more of. He's a candidate for becoming a star in the future." Yakult chief scout Oda said that a lot of big pitchers such as Darvish tend to struggle on fielding the ball, but that Darvish is "smooth." He went on to say that "if he keeps developing, he could be in the [Swallows number one draft choice Yuhei] Takai class." From a marketing standpoint, Darvish is apparently a handsome lad and could help draw more female fans to pro baseball once he moves on to that level....Ichiro's alma mater, Aiko Meiden High School, won its first Koshien tilt in 19 years Wednesday when it beat Kokushikan High School 1-0....In the other game, Omi High School edged Ginoza High School 4-3.

Miscellaneous Tsuyoshi Shinjo started in right Wednesday against the Cardinals and went 3-5 to raise his spring average to .424....So Taguchi entered as a late inning defensive replacement and grounded out in his one at bat....Ichiro Suzuki had a double in four at bats against the Padres Wednesday....Kazuhiro Sasaki started a game in the Mariners minor league camp and threw one scoreless inning and reported that he had no pain in his shoulder....Hideo Nomo went six innings Wednesday against Atlanta and allowed three runs on four hits, including a two run jack to left by Marcus Giles....According to USA Today, MLB teams saw their overall sttendance decline last season by 6.2%....Kazuhisa Ishii will start on April 3rd against San Diego....The names of the three U.S. firms that may buy the Fukuoka Dome and Seahawk Hotel have been revealed. They are Lehman Brothers, Colony Capital and, and I hope that I have this right, Ronstar. Right now, the three companies are analyzing the capital value of the properties.

Today's Pictures

Tsuyoshi Shinjo Swingin'

Akinori Otsuka Sees His First Game Action Since Last Year

Kazuhisa Ishii During Wednesday's Workout

Osamu Hamanaka During Wednesday's Workout

Akinori Iwamura Takes a Hack

Yomiuri Catcher Abe Wants to be the Best

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Giants Will Find it Tough Without Matsui

See story at: Japan Today Article

Hoshino's Hitmen Ready to Rumble

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Shinjo Overshadowed by Matsui

See story at: Stamford Advocate Article

Former Swallow Lovullo Managing Kazuhito Tadano

See story at: Kinston Free Press Article

Tadano Strikes Out the Side in Intrasquad Game

See story at: Kinston Free Press Article

Replies: 1 Comment

Things are really looking up for Tadano out in Winter Haven Florida. A scout told me that he saw Tadano blowing fastballs and using his backdoor slider to really nail down opposing hitters. He has a rainbow of pitches that he can throw for strikes. His main concern is to make sure he keeps the ball down, because if he gets it up, American hitters will be sure to drop some head on it. He needs to get used to the American mound and rubber where it is very difficult to rear back and try to sneak any ball past a hitter.
He will also need to speed up his delivery to the plate, unless he has a catcher that can throw behind the runners from his knees.
Tadano will need to study opposing hitters and getting to know their "tendencies". He should be watching lots of videos to get a better feel of what he is up against.
All and all, it looks like a promising career for the young Japanese "star".


Posted by Hammer @ 03/30/2003 05:04 PM EST

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