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Baseball officials released the coaching staff of the national team for the Athens Olympics from their duties Thursday, including manager Shigeo Nagashima and head coach Kiyoshi Nakahata. Nagashima remains as chief technical director with the possibility that he may skipper the national team again in the future for tournaments in which Japan will field top professional players.

Nagashima is recovering from a stroke he suffered in March and missed the tournament in Athens, where Japan took the bronze and Nakahata served as a stand-in for the former Yomiuri Giants manager.

Kiro Osafune, who was in charge of the team selection for the Olympic team, stepped down. The next tournament that features Japan’s top professional players will be the Asian zone qualifiers for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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