Spring Training 2018 – Le Deuxieme Cours

It’s still just the beginning of spring training. And it’s still cold in mainland Japan. So because of the frozen nature of my fingers, and the lack of heaviness concerning any and all headlines, here’s what you missed, in short spurts:

Minoru Iwata threw a 200-pitch bullpen… in case Kanemoto gets really, REALLY mad at him during the season? (Building up stamina? Starting his arm fatigue early so he can’t be punished with an extra-long outing later in the season? Not sure.)

Takashi Toritani worked out at second base. He is still the starting third baseman for 2018, for now.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit the first “game time” home run of the season for the team on Wednesday. His two-run homer against Hiroto Saiki opened the scoring in the intrasquad game. Nishioka also recorded a single, a walk and a stolen base.

Shun Takayama is still a below-average fielder. He let a Kento Itohara single get past him, turning it into an inside-the-park home run during that same exhibition game.

Wilin Rosario picked up two hits (both singles) in his “debut.” Other firsts included newcomer Kairi Shimada‘s stolen base. Whites won the game 4-2.

Samurai Japan skipper Atsunori Inaba was at the intrasquad game. He appeared to be impressed with Shintaro Fujinami (victim of Takayama’s bad fielding, otherwise not bad) and Yusuke Ohyama (3 hits).

Yoshio Itoi has said that camp is easier this year because (a) he is healthy, and (b) more media attention on Rosario means less on him. He hopes to be in the mix for some individual titles this year.

Skipper Tomoaki Kanemoto named Ohyama and second-year pitcher Hiroto Saiki as the top players in the second set.

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.

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