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Japan announces only 12 WBC players including Ohtani, Darvish and Murakami first

Japan first announced the 12 participating players for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Japanese baseball team coach Hideki Kuriyama held a press conference in Tokyo, Japan on the 6th and unveiled the 12 players on the 2023 WBC final roster (30).

Three players active in the US Major League (MLB) include pitchers Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) and Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), and outfielder Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs). 

The faces of players belonging to the Japanese professional baseball team are also gorgeous. The pitchers were Roki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes), Shota Imanaga (Yokohama DeNA Baystars), and Shosei Dogo (Yomiuri Giants). Sasaki achieved the youngest perfect game in Japanese professional baseball, and Yamamoto won the pitcher’s triple crown (ERA, wins, strikeouts) for two consecutive years. 

Murakami Munetaka (Yakult Swallows), who set a new record of 56 homers in a single season last year by a Japanese player, also joined the national team. In addition to this, Takuya Gai (Softbank Hawks, Catcher), Sosuke Genda (Seibu Lions), Shugo Maki 안전놀이터 (Yokohama, ideal infielder), and Kensuke Kondo (Softbank, Outfielder) were also included in the final list.

Japan, which is trying to win its third WBC title following the 2006 and 2009 tournaments, plans to announce the remaining 18 players at the end of this month. Afterwards, starting on the 16th of next month, they will conduct battery training in Miyazaki and play evaluation matches against Softbank and Hanshin Tigers. 

Ohtani, who attended the press conference that day, said, “Personally, I have high expectations as this is my first tournament.”

The Korean national team, led by coach Kang-Cheol Lee, will face Group B Japan at the Tokyo Dome on March 10th.