The Japanese media predicted Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres) as the Japanese starting pitcher for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) Korea-Japan match.
Nikkan Sports predicted the starting 메이저놀이터 rotation of the Japanese baseball team on the 29th.
The media believed that Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) in the first match against China and Darvish in the second match against Korea were likely to appear. It is expected that Rocky Sasaki (Chiba Lotte Marines) will play in the match against the Czech Republic, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes) will play in the match against Australia.
From the 9th to the 13th, Japan will meet China, Korea, the Czech Republic and Australia in turn in the first round of the WBC.
The top 2 in the group advances to the quarterfinals. If the starting order is predicted by Nikkan Sports, Japan can use both Ohtani and Darvish in the quarterfinals.
Darvish entered the big league in 2012 after playing in Japanese professional baseball. He played for the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and San Diego, where he went 95-75 with an earned run average of 3.50 in 242 major league games. He was also selected as an All-Star five times.
This is the second WBC appearance after 2009. At that time, Japan won the tournament for the second time in a row.
In the 2009 WBC, Darvish, who played 2 games as a starter and 3 games as a relief, also played 3 times against Korea.
Darvish, who pitched in relief against Korea in the 1st and 2nd place match in the 1st round, scored 1 scoreless inning. In the second round, he started against Korea and became the losing pitcher with 3 runs in 5 innings. Darvish, who came to the rescue in the final against Korea, recorded a blown save with 2 innings and 1 run, but was named the winning pitcher.
Meanwhile, head coach Hideki Kuriyama, who leads the Japanese baseball team, expressed regret at clubs delaying the joining of major leaguers.
Major league clubs require players to join their respective national teams in early March after participating in club spring camp for reasons such as injuries. With the competition imminent, there is not enough time to get along as much as we can train the national team together.
Coach Kuriyama raised his voice, saying, “For a really good tournament, it’s important for players to prepare for what they want to do. If major leaguers can participate in the national team more freely, the value of the tournament itself will increase.”
Japan, which has five major leaguers including Darvish, Ohtani, Suzuki Seiya (Chicago Cubs), Lars Nutba (St. Louis Cardinals), and Yoshida Masataka (Boston Red Sox) on the national team, is worried.
Ha-seong Kim (San Diego Padres) and Tommy Edman (St. Louis), who also have to match the keystone combination in Korea, will not join until early March. Whether Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates), who was in the final entry, will join has not yet been confirmed.