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01/24/2003 Archived Entry: "Japanese Baseball News: Petagine Gets Royal Treatment from Giants"

Spoiled Petagine to Find Twins Difficult to Overcome?

Yomiuri Giants outfielder Roberto Petagine isn't enjoying what is going on in his native Venezuela much, but once he gets to Japan, that all changes bigtime. According to Sports Nippon, Yomiuri is allowing Petagine to not only stay in a separate hotel from the rest of the team along with wife Olga, who is 24 years Roberto's senior, but to skip morning meals and meetings with his teammates at their spring camp in Miyazaki.

However, a glitch has come up in that the hotel Petagine will be residing at doesn't have any double beds for the room type he was given and the team is worrying that dealing with twin beds will have a negative psychological impact on their $8 million a year slugger. Poor baby. He is also being provided with an interpreter who will act as his personal driver.

Yokohama May Fete Foreigners

As a result of discussions with Yokohama's mayor, the Bay Stars may institute a "gaikokujin (foreigner) day" in order to hopefully boost the nine's attendance. Yokohama is home to more than 26,000 Chinese and has a total of 63,000 foreigners from 141 countries, including. That figure is also bolstered by the U.S. military bases in and around Kanagawa Prefecture, where Yokohama is situated.

The Stars are also continuing to pursue a working agreement with the Tientsin Lions of the new Chinese professional league.

In other news, Yokohama manager Daisuke Yamashita announced that he believes that ace Daisuke Miura won't be ready to take the mound in game action until May or perhaps even June. Miura played catch today in rehabbing his surgically repaired elbow.

Akahoshi's Star May Fade in Battle for Job

Kind of interesting article in Sankei Sports about Hanshin outfielder Norihiro Akahoshi for not only what it said, but what it didn't say. Akahoshi is in danger of being squeezed out of the regular centerfielder's job thanks to the acquisition of leftfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto from Hiroshima. Since he has more pop, last year's leftfielder, Osamu Hamanaka, is being moved to centerfield.

Akahoshi says that he won't let Hamanaka take his spot, but then there is no mention of trying Akahoshi out at shortstop, as had been contemplated earlier. Moreover, second baseman Makoto Imaoka is being elevated to the leadoff spot in the batting order, which Akahoshi did in 2002 when he wasn't injured.

Tigers coach Koichi Tabuchi noted that he is disappointed with the fact that though he has blazng speed, Akahoshi manufactured just nine infield hits the previous campaign. To rectify that, Tabuchi has had Akahoshi adopt a lighter bat and prodded him into changing his approach at the dish.

Kintetsu Owner Wants to Put Otsuka Out to Pasture

Fed up with closer Akinori Otsuka's obsession with playing in MLB, Kintetsu Buffaloes owner Nagai said that the team should just release him. Manager Masataka Nashida is already looking for other candidate's to do Otsuka's job, with the odds on favorite being Akira Okamoto, who garnered 18 saves last season, though he also wants to look at some other pitchers in that role, too.

When Okamoto was asked about being handed closing duties, he modestly commented that he isn't strong enough for it, though most observers would conclude that the righthander should be able to handle it with few problems.

Due to MLB spring training beginning soon, the Buffs have to decide what to do with Otsuka within the next week if they want to be fair to him. While teammates and unnamed team officials have begged Otsuka to stay, he has been fending them off while mulling his next move.

By the way, Kintetsu today announced their new slogan, which liberally translated, is, "for daring and excitement, come to Osaka!" I'd give it a five out of ten.

Hot Shots....

The Yakult Swallows, is hoping that rookie infielder Kazuyoshi Hatayama will be able to pick up some of the slack engendered with Petagine's signing with the Swallows' crosstown rivals. Hatayama, a righthanded hitter, was named Rookie of the Year in the minors two years ago and then took the homer and RBI crowns in 2002. However, he reportedly still has some defensive kinks to be worked out....Yakult number one draft choice Yuhei Takai was only just mere weeks back being cooed at by team management, who successfully lured him into forsaking going to university or the industrial leagues and signed him. Now that he is under contract, the hammer is coming down, as pitching coach Akimitsu Itoh dressed him down Wednesday for lacking concentration during a throwing session. Then Thursday, Takai allowed himself to be distracted by a tv camera, bring a reproach about the concentration issue from the Swallows' conditioning coach....In one of his first personnel moves since becoming manager of Nippon Ham, Trey Hillman has ordered veteran infielder Hiroshi Narahara, reliever Hiroshi Shibakusa and four others to begin the spring in the club's minor league camp. He has also abolished morning calisthenics and evening workouts and has put out the word that he expects the players to police themselves in preparing for the season ahead. Practice sessions will be three hours long. The Fighters will play nine intrasquad games in the pre-season and they will be carefully supervised by Hillman, who will even stop the action if he sees a problem that needs to be worked out right then. The former Rangers farm director also handed out t shirts to his coaching staff that had the word "Texas" on the front and "a ballplayer is born everyday" on the back and then impressed on those coaches the importance of everyone being on the same page and urged them to discuss their ideas openly...According to Sports Nippon, Kevin Millar has instructed his agent to cease negotiations with the Boston Red Sox. Furthermore, Sankei Sports is saying that Millar will arrive in Japan on the 29th.... Daiei Hawks skipper Sadaharu Oh was delighted with what rookie Tsuyoshi Wada was serving up in the bullpen today, calling his deliveries "unhittable." Fireballing first year man Nagisa Arakaki aired out 40 pitches and was also deemed impressive by Oh....Call it the Play Station diet. Hiroshima closer Yasuhiro Oyamada is currently nine pounds over where he wants to be, so to ensure that he will make weight, he has brought his video game console with him to the Carp's spring training dormitory so that he won't be tempted to go out and hit the bars.... Michihiro Takahata, who was a batting coach for the Chiba Lotte Marines last season, has abandoned his more than three decades in pro baseball and become a sociology teacher at age 59 in Fukuoka after earning his degree from Nihon University....Lotte welcomed Bobby Rose back to Japan Wednesday. Hochi Sports is saying that nobody in MLB offered Rose a job after he was cut loose by Yokohama after the 2000 season, which seems insane. The former Angel says that he is nervous after the layoff, but he is looking forward to the challenge. Japanese professional umpires met with officials from the two leagues earlier today and are demanding a pay raise, saying that the average arbiter pockets less than $60,000 a year. That may be one reason why the level of umpiring in Japan is so terrible.

Japan Claims Millar

See story at: Boston Globe Article

Former Player: Japanese Baseballers Too Negative

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

TV Station Goes to Absurd Length to Use Ichiro

See story at: Yomiuri Shimbun Article

Two Korean Players to Visit Marlins

See story at: Article

Matsui May Help Tampa's Profile

See story at: St. Petersburg Times Article

Daiei Denies Japanese Government Ordering Restructuring

See story at: CNN Article

See related story at: Yahoo News Article

Individual Taiwanese Teams Want Own TV Contracts

See story at: ETaiwan News Article

Replies: 1 Comment

Petagine was a quality player in the States who just never got a real shot. Think of a better version of Lee Stevens with some plate discipline. I held on to his Strat card as long as I could but the Mets wouldn't play the guy. He's legit. Japanese Strato anyone?

Posted by Bart Ewing @ 01/25/2003 06:09 PM EST

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