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New WBC rules to limit pitch counts

Kyodo

The rules will be more stringent at the upcoming World Baseball Classic tournament in consideration of the workload on pitchers.

Pitchers will be limited to 65 pitches for the first round, 80 for the second round and 95 in the semifinals and final, FOX Sports reported Tuesday.

The changes reduce the number of pitches by five from the caps in 2009 that were set at 70, 85 and 100, respectively.

The measure will return pitch counts to the same caps as in the inaugural tournament in 2006.

Other changes in this year’s tournament include playing the championship game to completion with mercy rules for other games in the tournament, and not allowing pitchers to appear in more than one game on the same day.

Dice-K heads to U.S.

Kyodo

Free agent right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has yet to sign with another team this winter since concluding his six-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, departed for the United States on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old pitcher underwent Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow in June 2011.

He made a comeback last season but struggled with injuries to his neck and an upper trapezius strain and was limited to a 1-7 record with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts.

He managed just two quality starts and over his final five starts completed four innings only once.