Japan begins preparations for WBC


Samurai Japan hopefuls got under way with a training camp in Miyazaki on Friday as they aim to be named for the squad for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Japan manager Koji Yamamoto, who has been tasked with trying to win the country’s third consecutive WBC championship, had his team practice indoors due to the previous night’s rain.

A total of 33 players led by captain Shinnosuke Abe and coaching staff assembled a little past 9:30 a.m. with pitchers and position players huddling in separate corners before starting practice.

Abe led the team in running drills and caught in the bullpen.

“There are a lot of pitchers I am catching for the first time, so it’ll be best if we talk things over and spend quality time together,” said the Yomiuri Giants catcher.

Japan will work out in Miyazaki until Feb. 21. The final 28-man roster will be selected following practice games against the Hiroshima Carp on Sunday and the Seibu Lions on Monday.