The image at right comes to us via (in Japanese), via NPB Tracker (who translated the piece), via Rays Report (who saw it on NPBT), via our dog (who interns for us). Speaking of which (which we know we weren’t), but if we ever get two more dogs in our house, we are definitely naming them Grizz and Dot-Com.

There was some news recently about Ichiro wanting to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. Akinori Iwamura responded to the news by taking the mound and throwing some pitches.

(from NPBT) According to the article, he has six breaking pitches, including a cut fastball and a shuuto. No word on whether he can reach 92 with his heater.

A shuuto is very similar to a screwball.

NPB Tracker quotes Aki as saying he won’t pitch and makes it sound as as if this is all a ruse.


  • The Rays won their arbitration case against Dioner Navarro, who will now make $2.1 million in 2009. Andrew Friedman and Co. are now 3-0 in arbitration. And the agent’s tone was much more conciliatory after making contentious remarks last week…The sudden switch in rhetoric sounds as if the agent had a little talking to from either Navi or World B. Friedman. [The St. Pete Times]

“Navi wants to thank the Rays organization for making this a fair debate and for handling the hearing with class,” agent Kendall Almerico said. “He is very excited to report to spring training and help the team get back to the World Series.”

  • Bill Chastain reports that the deal with Brian Shouse is done and that it is for one year and a team option for 2010. The deal will be announced Wednesday when the Rays will make a corresponding move by dropping somebody from the 40-man roster. [MLB]
  • Andrew Friedman confirmed to Marc Topkin that the team is “very close” to a two-year deal with Willy Aybar. [The Heater]
  • If you want to say that, in hindsight, the Sean BurroughsDewon Brazelton trade signified a shift in the operational nature of the Rays front office, we will give you that. But to say that acquiring Burroughs for Brazelbum was a “solid” deal just because Burroughs was a decent player before coming to the Rays is simply ridiculous. There is nothing “solid” about a deal that lands a player that would play eight games for the Rays. We don’t care if it was an $80 steak going in. Shit is shit when it comes out. [Drays Bay]
  • Alex Rodriguez tainted Dick Vitale’s season tickets with the Rays, or something like that. [Deadspin]
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports previews the AL East and says the Rays are for real, but wonders if they are “real enough.” [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Marc Topkin has the autograph session schedule for FanFest this Saturday. [The Heater]
  • The Rays Party wonders if the Rays can lead the majors in stolen bases. [The Rays Party]
  • takes a look at Jacob Jefferies. []



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