Japan to select 2013 World Baseball Classic manager

Kyodo News

Nippon Professional Baseball is planning to select the Japan national team manager for the 2013 World Baseball Classic as early as July, it was learned Thursday.

A panel is expected to be put in place around May to start discussing the selection process for the next manager, who will be charged with the task of guiding Japan to a third consecutive WBC crown. The coaching staff will be selected after the new manager is named.

Japan won the first two editions of the Classic, beating Cuba in the inaugural event in 2006 and South Korea in the 2009 final in March.

NPB hopes to strengthen the national team ahead of the next WBC through playing in international tournaments it plans to host in 2011 and 2012.

It has decided to put the new manager in place three years ahead of the next WBC after encountering difficulties in selecting the national team skipper for the 2009 tournament, which slowed the process of forming the team.

Sadaharu Oh, who led Japan to victory at the 2006 WBC, and Senichi Hoshino both ruled themselves out of contention for the skipper’s job last time and Tatsunori Hara was picked less than six months before the 2009 tournament began.

“Picking the manager and getting preparations underway should happen two or three years before the start of the tournament,” said Oh, who took an advisory role for the 2009 WBC.