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The wider baseball world is about to meet Tomoyuki Sugano.

Until a few days ago, the Yomiuri Giants star was set to be one of the pitchers throwing in Shohei Otani’s wake in terms of attention at the World Baseball Classic. Now that Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace Otani has been ruled out of the competition because of an ankle injury, it’s Sugano who steps into the role as Japan’s top pitcher.

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