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Yamamoto: Matsui could play for Japan at WBC

Kyodo

Hideki Matsui could finally play for Japan at the World Baseball Classic.

New Japan manager Koji Yamamoto said Wednesday he is considering picking the 38-year-old Matsui, who was released by the Tampa Bay Rays midway through the season, for the third WBC in March.

“I’m thinking about it,” Yamamoto said. “But I can’t say any more than that at this point in time.”

Matsui, the 2009 World Series MVP with the New York Yankees, declined to play at the last two tournaments as Japan went on to win both times.

Matsui passed up the opportunity in 2006 to prioritize his commitment to the Yankees and three years later, had no choice but to turn down Japan as he was coming off major knee surgery.

Matsui is still eager to play but with no word of signing with a major league team any time soon, the WBC could be the perfect opportunity to showcase whatever baseball he has left in him.