For four years, Shohei Otani burned to help Samurai Japan reclaim the World Baseball Classic title it booted away in San Francisco in 2013, but the fire that empowered the slugging pitcher came at a cost.

The pitcher hurt his right ankle during October’s Japan Series, and soon after declared himself fit to serve as a designated hitter in Samurai Japan’s games against Mexico and the Netherlands in November. But he aggravated the injury during those games at Tokyo Dome, and with his ankle preventing him from pitching or running at full speed, he has been ruled out of the WBC he longed so much to play in.

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