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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani announces intention to play for Japan in World Baseball Classic

Shohei Ohtani is taking his talents back to Japan for a few days next year.

The Angels’ two-way star announced Thursday on Instagram that he “officially informed” Team Japan that he “would like to participate” in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, which takes place March 8-21 in Tokyo, Miami, Phoenix and Taichung, Taiwan.

Japan is part of the tournament’s Pool B, which plays its opening round and quarterfinal games at the Tokyo Dome.

“Looking forward for the opportunity to face the best players around the world and to be able to play in front of the Japanese fans for the first time in over 5 years!!” wrote Ohtani, who is under contract with the Angels through the 2023 season.

Ohtani was slated to play in the most recent WBC, in 2017, but pulled out because of an ankle injury. The Tokyo Dome hosted opening-round games in that event as well.

Last month, Ohtani told reporters that he would consider coming out of the bullpen for Team Japan if he decided to take part in the WBC.

“If you’re going to pitch as a starter [in the WBC], you’d have to be built up to 60, 70 pitches. So you have to take that into account,” Ohtani told reporters on Oct. 18 in Tokyo. “But if they say you don’t have to start, there’s no reason to move up anything.”



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