- As mentioned in our most recent podcast, Balentien could start the year on the top team. Because he’s starting to show some life at the plate, mixed with Roman’s continued stability on the mound, and abetted by Lim’s tender throwing arm, Tokyo’s well-paid closer could start the year on the farm instead. Yet more evidence that a change in hairstyle works wonders for one’s career.
- Although we can’t be entirely sure that his hands are completely banned from meddling in team affairs, the guy who gave us his pal Takada as a manager for 2+ painful seasons, Tadashi Suzuki, has finally stepped down from his post as team advisor.
- Shingo Kawabata (wrist injury), whose rehab has not gone as smoothly as everyone had hoped, rejoined the first team today.
- The Tokyo Swallows, in cahoots with Yomiuri and Yokohama, have announced a stamp collection scheme (rubber, not postal) through which fans can attend games at all three stadiums and earn prizes such as a big button. I find this to be hilarious because it’s evidence of how far Yomiuri has fallen. Can anyone else think of another time when the Giants worked together with their CL enemies to put more bums in seats? Neither can I.
- To go along with rehabbing his throwing hand (off-season surgery to correct a “blood-flow problem”, Shohei Tateyama’s left leg (ankle?) disagreed with an injection he received last week. This is not the first time that this has happened to a Tokyo player in recent memory. Who is administering these injections, Tsubakurou?
- Masubuchi could start 2012 in the bullpen thanks to the potential starting depth that the team has at this point. This is good news for those of us that remember his breakout season in 2010 when he was first moved to the pen (2.69 ERA over 60.1 innings). With Barnette, Kyuko, Oshimoto, Matsuoka, and Masubuchi all waiting in the wings, there’s a little less pressure on Tokyo’s starters.
- After a bit of a slump recently, brand new Brewer, Norichika Aoki, found some life against brand new Ranger, Yu Darvish. Disciples of Uecker feels that he needs to do a lot more of what he did during his 3-3 outing against the Rangers (video here) if he hopes to stay relevant and possibly graduate from being a backup player this year.
- Alex Ramirez, Yokohama’s prized acquisition from Yomiuri through free agency, has a leg injury that will probably keep him on the sidelines for the next couple of weeks.
- While nobody was looking, I wrote some poop about Watanabe and his Yomiuri Giants over at Tokyo Weekender. There’s a Cartman reference in there.
The season kicks off in exactly one week! The Tokyo Swallows will be travelling across town to Tokyo Dome for a 6PM date with the new-look
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