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Brazil in Japan’s group for World Baseball Classic


Brazil will join defending champion Japan, China and Cuba in Pool A as organizers on Monday announced the final pool compositions and the full tournament schedule for the 2013 World Baseball Classic beginning in March.

Japan will begin its second defense of its WBC title against newcomer and qualifying round winner Brazil on March 2 at Yahoo Dome in Fukuoka.

Pool B will feature Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, from March 2. The opening game will be played between 2009 finalist South Korea and the Netherlands.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, will host the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela for Pool C contests from March 7.

In Arizona, Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick will host games in Pool D, featuring Canada, Italy, Mexico and the United States from March 7.

Meanwhile, each team announced two players on its roster for the tournament, with Japan naming Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles hurler Masahiro Tanaka and Shinnosuke Abe of the Yomiuri Giants.

Among 32 major league players named were Venezuela’s 2012 American League MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, 2009 AL MVP Joe Mauer (U.S.) of the Minnesota Twins and Dominican second baseman Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees.

A’s eyeing Nakajima


The Oakland Athletics are considering free agent Hiroyuki Nakajima as one of the potential candidates to fill the team’s need for a starting shortstop, various media sources in the San Francisco Bay Area reported Monday.

Both the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle reported that Nakajima was one of the two free agent candidates likely being considered by the A’s, with the other being incumbent Stephen Drew.

“We’ve talked about him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “We do know quite a bit about him. I’m sure there will probably be quite a few suitors.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who have expressed an interest in Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters second baseman Kensuke Tanaka, have said they are interested in Nakajima as either a shortstop or third baseman.

The Chronicle reported that the San Francisco Giants are looking at Nakajima as a solution at second base if they are unable to re-sign Marco Scutaro.