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WBC: Japan Announces First 12 Players For 2023

 Leif Skodnick  |    Jan 6th, 2023 8:42pm EST

By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
Jan. 6, 2023

Samurai Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama announced the first 12 players it intends to place on the roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic at a press conference on Friday.

Among those present at the news conference were Los Angeles Angels pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, who had previously been named to the team. Pitcher Yu Darvish of the San Diego Padres and outfielder Seiya Suzuki of the Chicago Cubs were also previously announced.

Outfielder Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox committed to play for Japan last week.

Among those named to the Japanese squad was Yakult Swallows infielder Munetaka Murakami, who won the NPB triple crown in 2022 and led the league in home runs with 56.

Pitchers Roki Sasaki, who fanned 19 in a perfect game for Chiba Lotte last season, and Orix Buffaloes starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who won the last two Sawamura Awards as the outstanding starter in NPB, will play for Japan. The DeNa BayStars’ Shota Imanaga and Shosei Togo of the Yomiuri Giants were also named to the Japanese pitching staff.

Catcher Takuya Kai and outfielder Kensuke Kondo of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, shortstop Sosuke Genda of the Seibu Lions and infielder Shugo Maki of the BayStars were also named to the roster.

Japan will play in Pool B at the Tokyo Dome against Korea, Australia, China, and the Czech Republic March 8 to March 13.

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Leif Skodnick