Sun, Feb 20, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Hideo Nomo warms up Florida as press from Japan swarms


The Tampa Bay Devil Rays hope they have to get used to the Hideo Nomo show.

The former National League Rookie of the Year reported to spring training with his new team Friday, attracting a large contingent of Japanese reporters and photographers eager to chronicle his first day on the job.

"This is good publicity for us," said manager Lou Piniella, who became accustomed to even larger hordes in Seattle, where he once managed Ichiro Suzuki, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Kaz Sasaki. "The Japanese media is very persistent."

The Devil Rays are looking for more than increased exposure, though.

Nomo is trying to jump-start his career after spending two stints on the disabled list and going 4-11 with an 8.25 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He had shoulder surgery after the 2003 season, but thinks his problems with injuries are behind him.

"I don't know what the results are going to be. But I'm in good condition and just hope to be on the roster at the start of the season," the 36-year-old right-hander said through an interpreter.

One of just four pitchers to throw no-hitters in both the National and American Leagues, Nomo won 16 games for Los Angeles in 2002 and again in 2003. He was the Dodgers' opening day starter last season, but lost 10 of 11 decisions after getting off to a 3-1 start. The losing season was just his third since 1995, when he left Japan's Pacific League for the Dodgers.

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