/

WBC skipper search under way

Kyodo

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks chairman Sadaharu Oh on Wednesday said the number of potential candidates to manage Japan at the 2013 World Baseball Classic is currently being narrowed down. Oh, who managed Japan in 2006 to the first WBC title, is a special advisor to Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Ryozo Kato.

“We’ve cast a very wide net, but at this time, we are gradually narrowing the field,” Oh said.

The commissioner, who has the final say on selecting a manager, has said he would not rule anyone out regardless of whether they are active or not or have past managing experience. Kato has also said he hopes to see some movement on the selection process this month.

In the case of candidates with managing experience, Oh said he preferred some who has managed recently.

“It would be hard if you have been away from the game for 10 years,” he said.

That qualification would leave the door open to select former skippers Katsuya Nomura and Koji Yamamoto, both of whom have been talked about as candidates for the job. Nomura, 77, last managed in 2009, while the 65-year-old Yamamoto’s last year as a manager was 2005.