Darvish also confirmed to play in the WBC, Otani-Sasaki-Yamamoto
The Japanese national baseball team and Samurai Japan will form the strongest power to compete in the World Baseball Classic (WBC). Shohei Otani (28, LA Angels), who also serve as a pitcher and batter, and Darvish Yu (36, San Diego Padres) will join the national team.
Darvish said on his SNS on the 6th that he will participate in the WBC in March next year, saying, “Coach Guriyama is asking me to play.” It was his second appearance in the tournament after the 2009 WBC. At that time, he took the mound as a finishing pitcher in the final and confirmed the victory.
Hideki Kuriyama, who took the helm of the national team in December last year, has been persuading Japanese players who are active in the major leagues to participate.
Darvish played his best this season as if he were in his prime again. He started in 30 games, played 194⅔ innings, recorded 16 wins and 8 losses, and had a 3.10 ERA. Following his Major League debut season in 2012, he won 16 games, the most in 10 years. He also won two games in the postseason.
The Japanese national team will be able to build the strongest mound with Roki Sasaki (21, Chiba Lotte), who achieved the “perfect game,” and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (24, Orix), who has won four gold medals for two consecutive years.
Darvish was widely expected to be absent considering pitching innings and age. Darvish will become an FA (free agent) when he fills next season.
Japan was the winner of one or two tournaments in 2006 and 2009. Matsuzaka Daisuke played a great role and became the MVP for two consecutive tournaments. Since then, he has slowed down in the third and fourth tournaments. He finished third in two consecutive tournaments, behind the Dominican Republic, the United States, and Puerto Rico, which were led by major league players.
Now, Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), who previously played the national team’s fourth batter, remains. Suzuki, who went to Major League Baseball from Hiroshima Carp this year, played 111 games in his first season. He batted .262 with 104 hits in 397 at-bats, 14 home runs, 46 RBIs and 9 steals. He steadily adapted to the Major League.