• The Associated Press

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Japan manager Tatsunori Hara expressed his disappointment Thursday in Takashi Saito’s decision to sit out the World Baseball Classic but understands the pitcher’s situation.

Saito, who had 18 saves and a 2.49 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers despite being limited by an elbow injury, agreed to a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Saito announced his withdrawal from WBC consideration in order to prepare for the upcoming season.

“It’s a shame but I understand his position,” Hara told reporters Thursday. “We’ll continue to go forward with a positive outlook.”

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