Spring Training News: battery injuries galore

Semi-official injury count for the month of February at the Tokyo Swallows spring camp: 11 players missed all or part of at least one day of practice. In detail, that works out to six pitchers, four catchers, and one infielder. Go, go Swallows!

While the six injured pitchers may set off the loudest alarm for some readers, our visibly diminishing corps of backstops is probably a bigger concern at this point.

Tokyo is now down to three at the top team level. Kawamoto, Yoneno, and Fukukawa are all on the mend, and that leaves us with Aikawa, the young and capable Nakamura, and Kinugawa. If the team loses one more, a distinct possibility given Aikawa’s history and the fact that Nakamura lightly sprained his ankle stealing second in Monday’s LG Twins game, then we could be in big trouble.

The team, for its part, has decided that the best course of action is to exorcise the farm team dormitory up in Toda.

Things are dire enough that D’Antona has offered to catch if necessary (he made 31 appearances as a catcher in the minors). Hopefully that doesn’t happen. At any rate, what are the chances that the team stocks catching gear big enough to fit him?

In slightly less nerve-wracking news, it looks like competition is heating up for jobs as a starting pitcher.

According to SanspoTakada is looking to field a six-man rotation. The first four pitchers have already been decided: Ishikawa, Tateyama, Muranaka, and Yoshinori. Guys in the mix for the final two slots include Lee, Barnette, Nakazawa, and Kawashima.

Of course, it should be observed that Tateyama has stated publicly that he is not 100% sure that he’ll be ready in time to make his first scheduled start at the beginning of the regular season. So there could be three slots available at this point.

Hopefully someone else will throw their hat into the ring to keep things interesting.

So, who else out there is a little bit nervous about the way things have been going thus far?

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo’s more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it’s a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Well, I was down at Jingu this afternoon, where the catching was done by Aikawa, Nakamura, and Genki Nitta! Wheeeeeee.

    Also I got to stare at Shiroishi's 3rd-base-coaching butt for 4 hours.

    And I joined the fan club! So you will be seeing a lot of me in the outfield hopefully. I figured it didn't make sense not to join; 5 free tickets and the rest of open-sen for free was just too good a deal to pass up.

    • James

      Hi,

      Can someone explain how the fan club works? I've been going to Jingu 20~30 times a season for 4 years but just never bothered finding out the deal with the fan club.

      How much does it cost to join, how do the 5 free games work out etc?

      Any advantage when it comes to buying advance tickets etc?

      And if you do wish to join, you just visit the counter at Jingu right. I assume it's open every match day?

      Cheers,
      James

      • Hi James

        Well, if you've been going that often for the last few years then you'd have saved yourself a fair bit of cash if you had been a fan club member……..

        The basic deal is this with 5000 yen getting you:

        – 5 free outfield tickets to home games (plus all pre-season games free entry)
        – outfield tickets for only 1000 yen a pop (and I believe you can buy a pair of tickets for each game at that price per ticket)
        – a couple of bits of tat, this year a ticket holder and a rather nice bag. The tat is definately above par this year.

        Plus as a fanclub member you're guaranteed tickets for every home regular season game, so on the rare occasions that Jingu is going to be packed you need not worry about not getting a ticket.

        And yes, if you want to join, just fill out a form outside the fan club window and take it to one of the tables outside and they'll help you get it all sorted there and then. You can indeed sign up on any match day you please, but the earlier the better if you want to save cash.

        Hope that's of some help.

        • James

          Cheers David,

          Good to know. I've been far too lazy to find out before. I'll definitely be signing up before my first trip to Jingu this season…

          So, one last question – once you're a fan club member, do you buy your match tickets at the fan club windows, the regular ticket windows, or at some other place?

          Thanks again,

          James

          • Yes, at the fan club windows. The position of which still irks me to this day, being that they're at the exact opposite end of the stadium from the outfield.

  • Well, I was down at Jingu this afternoon, where the catching was done by Aikawa, Nakamura, and Genki Nitta! Wheeeeeee.

    Also I got to stare at Shiroishi's 3rd-base-coaching butt for 4 hours.

    And I joined the fan club! So you will be seeing a lot of me in the outfield hopefully. I figured it didn't make sense not to join; 5 free tickets and the rest of open-sen for free was just too good a deal to pass up.