Japan eyes full-time baseball skipper for national team


Japan will decide on a full-time national-team manager by this fall in a bid to recapture the World Baseball Classic title in 2017, Kyodo News learned Friday.

Nippon Professional Baseball and its 12 teams have agreed that Japan needs a full-time national coach — like in soccer and rugby — to scout players throughout the season in order to wrest back the WBC crown won by the Dominican Republic earlier this year.

Japan, which won the first two editions of the WBC, was eliminated in the semifinals by Puerto Rico under Koji Yamamoto, who was turned down by his top stars such as Yu Darvish and Hiroki Kuroda.

NPB has been approached by Taiwan about a pair of exhibitions in November, which could be the debut for the new manager. The two games are being planned ahead of the Nov. 15-20 Asia Series in Taiwan.