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Defending World Baseball Classic champion Japan added Hanshin Tigers left-hander Minoru Iwata to the list of candidates for its 28-man roster Friday.

The move came after Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda ruled himself out of selection contention in late December, saying his rehabilitation work to strengthen his shoulder has not gone as expected.

On Dec. 15, Japan announced 34 candidates, including 16 pitchers, before Kuroda’s withdrawal less than a week later.

“We will narrow down the number of pitchers to 13 in the end. We needed one more for now,” Japan manager Tatsunori Hara said.

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