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LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) The Washington Nationals selected 20-year-old outfielder Naoya Washiya in the 14th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball first-year player draft Wednesday.

Washiya, a member of the 2005 Japanese high school baseball championship-winning Komadai Tomakomai of Hokkaido, entered College of the Desert in California in the fall of 2007.

Washiya was a Komadai Tomakomai teammate of Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched for Japan in the World Baseball Classic in March, and is not the first Japanese player to be drafted by a major league club.

In 2002, the Colorado Rockies picked outfielder Mitsuru Sakamoto out of Arizona Western College in the 24th round and signed him.

“I’m ready to go. I feel like I’ve become a better player and mentally stronger since I came to the United States,” said Washiya, who is staying with a host family in Indio, Calif.

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