Category: International

[1/19/2017] Yoshihisa Hirano could make WBC roster

Junichi Tazawa is not expected to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Samurai Japan left a spot open for him, but will now most likely turn to Orix’s Yoshihisa Hirano.

Source: Daily Sports 1/19/2017, Sponichi 1/19/2017

The Yakult Swallows would be happy to let Wladimir Balentien participate in the World Baseball Classic after how things fared for him in 2013. Balentien hurt his left leg during the 2013 WBC and started the season at Ni-gun, but still managed to have one of the best seasons of his NPB career (60 home runs with a slash line of .330 / .455 / .779).

Source: Sponichi 1/19/2017

The NPB, KBO, and CPBL are planning to schedule a series of games in November. An official announcement could come some time next week.

Source: Sponichi 1/19/2017, Daily Sports 1/19/2017


[1/17/2017] Samurai Japan updates from January 17

Samurai Japan will carry four batting practice pitchers during the World Baseball Classic tournament and eight batting pitchers practices during their mini camp in February. Hiroki Kokubo and the coaching staff could also serve as batting practice pitchers if necessary.

Source: Sponichi 1/17/2017

The Yomiuri Giants are planning to let Scott Mathieson (Canada) and Luis Cruz (Mexico) participate in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants have not yet received any requests about Dai-Kang Yoh and Jen-Lei Liao. There are some concerns surrounding Yoh because he is coming off a year in which he fractured his ribs and because he will have to adjust to playing for a new team in a much larger market. If he gets an invite to play for Taiwan, he might turn it down.

Source: Sponichi 1/17/2017, Tokyo Sports 1/17/2017

Tatsuya Yoshinami was selected to manage the Samurai Japan collegiate team during this year’s Universiade. Hideyuki Suzuki (Kansai Kokusai) and Furukawa Yuichi (Kanagawa) will return as coaches. Shinji Sakai (Nara Gakuen) will round out the coaching staff.

Source: Sponichi 1/17/2017


[1/15/2017] More Samurai Japan roster rumors

According to reports from earlier today,  Shintaro Fujinami (Hanshin) and Toshiya Okada (Chunichi) will most likely make the Samurai Japan roster for the World Baseball Classic. Kodai Senga (Softbank), Yuki Matsui (Rakuten), Ayumu Ishikawa (Lotte), Seiji Kobayashi (Yomiuri), Takuya Nakashima (Nippon Ham), and Ryosuke Hirata (Chunichi) will most likely make the roster as well. This will give Samurai Japan twelve pitchers and fifteen position players. The last spot will most likely go to a pitcher.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/15/2017, Nikkan Sports 1/15/2017, Daily Sports 1/15/2017, Sponichi 1/15/2017, Sponichi 1/15/2017


[1/13/2017] Nikkan Sports: seven strong candidates for Samurai Japan roster

Nikkan Sports published a few articles this morning pointing out seven strong candidates for the Samurai Japan roster. They are:

  • Kodai Senga (Softbank)
  • Shota Takeda (Softbank)
  • Masahiko Morifuku (Yomiuri)
  • Ayumu Ishikawa (Lotte)
  • Seiji Kobayashi (Yomiuri)
  • Takuya Nakashima (Nippon Ham)
  • Ryosuke Hirata (Chunichi)

Senga, Takeda, and Ishikawa would give Samurai Japan three pitchers with experience as starters. Senga and Morifuku have experience as relievers. Kobayashi has a strong arm and Hirata would give the team another right-handed hitter with some pop.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/13/2017, Nikkan Sports 1/13/2017Nikkan Sports 1/13/2017


[1/12/2017] Samurai Japan to play two games against CPBL

Samurai Japan is scheduled to play two exhibition games against a mixed CPBL team before the start of the World Baseball Classic. Both games will be played at YafuOku Dome.

  • February 28 (Tue) at 19:00 at Japan
  • March 1 (Wed) at 19:00 at CPBL
  • First Base Side: Japan
  • Third Base Side: CPBL

Advance tickets sales will begin at 10:00 on January 14 (Sat) and end at 23:00 on January 18 (Wed). Regular sales will begin at 10:00 on January 21 (Sat).

Source: Samurai Japan 1/12/2017

A send-off rally for Samurai Japan will be held at Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk’s Argos Hall between 18:30 and 20:30 on February 27 (Mon). Tickets for the event will be packaged with tickets from the CPBL exhibition games.

Source: Samurai Japan 1/12/2017

According to reports posted earlier today, the Dodgers do not want Kenta Maeda to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Masahiro Tanaka may also end up missing the tournament. With two top pitchers out of the picture, there is a good chance Shohei Otani will be used primarily as a pitcher.

Among other rumors: Shota Takeda, Kodai Senga, Masahiko Morifuku, and Yuki Matsui could make the roster. Takuya Nakashima could also make the roster.

Source: Daily Sports 1/12/2017, Sponichi 1/12/2017, Nikkan Sports 1/11/2017, Nikkan Sports 1/11/2017


[1/1/2017] Shohei Otani could start first game of WBC

Samurai Japan Manager Hiroki Kukubo was originally thinking about using Shohei Otani as a pitcher during the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but could using him primarily as a position player depending on how many starting pitchers make the final roster. Kokubo could also give Otani the first start of the tournament and then switch to using him as a position player.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/1/2017


[12/29/2016] Sho Nakata to attend Ni-gun spring camp

Five Nippon Ham Fighter players were selected to the World Baseball Classic roster. Shohei Otani and Shota Ono are currently scheduled to attend Ichi-gun spring camp in Arizona next year. Sho Nakata, Naoki Miyanishi, and Hirotoshi Masui are currently slated to attend Ni-gun spring camp in Kunigami, Okinawa.

Nakata told reporters he was going to stay in Japan because it would allow him to maximize his time. He would also be able to work out with Miyanishi and Masui. He jokingly said that he might consider going to Arizona if they had washlets.

Source: Sponichi 12/29/2016, Nikkan Sports 12/29/2016, Sports Hochi 12/29/2016


[12/29/2016] Asia Championship in Fall 2017

The NPB and Samurai Japan are brainstorming ideas on what kind of international games to hold after the World Baseball Classic 2017 next spring and before the Premier 12 in the fall of 2019 and the Olympics in 2020. An Asia Championship could be scheduled next year after the season in November. The tournament could involve about four countries, including Korea and Taiwan. No other information is known at this point.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/29/2016


[12/21/2016] Norichika Aoki added to Samurai Japan roster

Samurai Japan announced today that Norichika Aoki was added to their roster for the World Baseball Classic. Aoki will start next year by attending spring training with his new team the Houston Astros. He will then join Samurai Japan on March 1.

Source: Samurai Japan announcement 1, Samurai Japan announcement 2

[UPDATE 12/21 @ 11:19pm]

Koji Uehara appeared on a news program tonight and said he turned down an offer to play for Samurai Japan during the upcoming WBC.

Source: Daily Sports 12/21/2016

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[12/20/2016] Samurai Japan releases partial roster (eighteen players)

Samurai Japan released a partial list of players for the World Baseball Classic roster earlier today. Eighteen players were on the list. The remaining players, including those in the MLB, are still under consideration. Additional names will be released as they become available.

Samurai Japan is currently scheduled to play practice games against a mixed CPBL team on February 28 and March 1 at YafuOku Dome, the Hanshin Tigers on March 3 at Kyocera Dome, and the Orix Buffaloes on March 5 at Kyocera Dome. Mini camp will take place in Miyazaki between February 23 and 26.