California Angel two-way player Shohei Ohtani and San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish have been named to Japan’s team in the ’23 World Baseball Classic, reports CBS Sports.
They are among the first 12 players named to the preliminary roster, including Chicago Cub left fielder Seiya Suzuki.
“I remember watching the games with my heart pounding,” Ohtani told reporters Friday. “Now I get to play. And so I really want to play well. I’m focused on winning.”
Japan won the WBC in both 2006 and 2009 and clearly has it self set to repeat.
“Of the all great players from Japan, we’re considering what will be the group best suited to take on the best players in the world, and see how well our baseball translates,” manager Hideki Kuriyama said, according to Mainichi. “We want to demonstrate the quality of Japanese baseball.”
The team is expected to be fully announced at the end of this month with training camp beginning in Miyazaki between Feb. 17 and 27. The tournament gets underway in March.
Team USA so far has announced 9 players including Will Smith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals.
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