Masataka Yoshida (30, Boston Red Sox), who is about to debut in the Major League (MLB), joined the World Baseball Classic (WBC) Japan team.
According to reports from Japanese media such as Sports Hochi and Daily Sports on the 5th, Japanese national team coach Hideki Kuriyama announced that Yoshida’s joining the national team had been confirmed.
Yoshida, who was active as a top hitter in Japanese professional baseball, succeeded in entering the MLB through the posting system after the 2022 season. Early last month, he signed a contract with Boston for 5 years and 90 million dollars (approximately 118.8 billion won).
With his MLB debut ahead of schedule, questions were raised about Yoshida’s ability to join the Japanese national team. However, Yoshida showed a strong will, and the club agreed to participate.
Coach Kuriyama said, “I had several conversations with Yoshida. It is not that simple for a player who is about to advance to the MLB to join the national team. He also recommended that season preparation be the top priority for the big league challenge.”
He continued, “But he had a strong will of the player himself, and he decided to be summoned.”
The addition of Yoshida, who has a sophisticated hitting sense and long hitting power, is a great force for the Japanese national team.
Yoshida, who made his debut in Nippon Professional Baseball in 2016, played a total of 762 games until last year, posting a batting average of 0.327, 133 homers and 467 RBIs. Excluding 2016, his first season with the club, he exceeded the batting average of 300 for six consecutive years.
Yoshida played an active role last year with a batting average of 0.335, 21 homers and 88 RBIs, leading Orix Buffaloes to win the Japan Series for the first time in 26 years.
A large number of big leaguers have already joined the Japanese national team. Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), Shohei Otani (LA Angels), Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), 토토 and Japanese big leaguer Lars Nutba (St. Louis Cardinals) have also been confirmed to participate in the WBC.
With the confirmation of Yoshida’s joining, the number of big leaguers in the Japanese national team has increased to five.