7 top professional baseball teams holding their spring training in Okinawa

7 top professional baseball teams holding their spring training in Okinawa

Players of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on their first day of spring training in Urasoe on February 1.

February 2, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On February 1, professional baseball spring training camps began throughout Okinawa. The Hanshin Tigers have begun training in Ginoza Village, the Chunichi Dragons in Chatan Town, the Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars in Ginowan City, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in Urasoe City, the Chiba Lotte Marines in Ishigaki City, the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles in Kumejima Town, and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Kunigami Village. There was drizzle, but all teams trained hard in spite of the weather.

Popular players are participating in the training camp of the Yakult Swallows, the infielder Tetsuto Yamada for one. The Swallows won the Central League championships last year for the first time in 14 years. Fans have enthusiastically flocked to the stadium to watch their favorite players train. Players from Okinawa such as Yakult pitcher Nagisa Arakaki and outfielder Wataru Hiyane, and DeNA catcher Hiroki Minei and pitcher Motoharu Fukuchi are taking part this baseball season.

Popular teams are coming to Okinawa this season. On February 16 the Yomiuri Giants come to Naha; on February 17 the Nippon-Ham Fighters will appear in Nago; and on February 20 the Hiroshima Toyo Carp will arrive in Okinawa City. Exhibition games will be held throughout the prefecture on February 20 and 21.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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