Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani revealed on Thursday that he will represent Japan in the next World Baseball Classic starting March 8.
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Confirming the news on Instagram, the 28-year-old athlete will look to help the Japanese team, which will play in Group B, with all its preliminary stage matches in Tokyo. This segment will also include China, South Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic.
Ohtani played in his country’s top league from 2013 to 2017 under manager Hideki Kuriyama and will find him in the national team again.
During his last campaign in Major League Baseball, he had 34 homers and 95 RBI while going 15–9 with a 2.33 ERA on the mound. His performance made him an American League MVP finalist; He achieved the title in 2021.
The Japanese capital will also host two of the second round’s games. The semi-finals and final are scheduled for Miami. The Americans last won the Classic in 2017. Japan took the top honors in 2006 and 2009, before the Dominicans took it all in 2013.