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Spring training rituals under way across Asia

Date Posted: 2007-02-10

The baseball season is just around the corner, and Japan’s pro baseball squads are beginning the annual training periods in Japan and elsewhere in the Pacific.

Several of the squads are training in Okinawa, while others are as far away as Australia. The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, the defending Japan Series Champions, are in Spring Training at Nago through Feb. 27th.

The Orix Buffaloes are splitting their training cycle between Miyakojima in Okinawa and Kochi in Shikoku from Feb. 19~27. Manager Terry Collins is practicing his Buffaloes in the southern Island through the 18th, with breaks on the 10th and 15th.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are taking it remote for training. They’re training on Kumejima until Feb. 21st, while the Chunichi Dragons are honing their fundamentals in Chatan through the 27th.

The Hanshin Tigers are working in Ginoza through Feb. 18th, after which the Tigers will shift to their former fulltime spring training site in Aki, Kochi Prefecture, on Shikoku Island.

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are in Urasoe Stadium in Okinawa until March 2nd, while the Hiroshima Carp and Manager Marty Brown are in Okianwa City for another few days. The team will return to Nichinana in Miyazaki Prefecture for the final two weeks of spring training starting Feb. 14th. Ginowan is hosting the Yokohama Bay Stars until February 26th.

The Seibu Lions are in Nichinan City in Miyazaki Prefecture, while the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks go through the drills in Miyazaki. Chiba’s Lotte Marines and skipper Bobby Valentine are soaking up the sun at Geelong Baseball Cener off the coast of Australia until Valentine’s Day, after which they’ll travel to Kamoike Stadium in Kagoshima to finish off training.The Yomiuri Giants are in Miyazaki for spring training.
Exhibition games will take place with some of the clubs on Saturday, Feb. 24th, including two on Okinawa. Nippon Ham plays Yokohama at Nago and Chunichi meets Yakult at Chatan. Official preseason games start the 25th, with the season opener pitting the Yomiuri Giants against the Fighesr at Sapporo Dome on March 1st.

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