Baseball: Lotte pitcher Sasaki to get Premier12 call-up

Japan's national baseball team manager Hirokazu Ibata said Sunday he will call up Lotte Marines pitcher Roki Sasaki to the Premier12 international tournament in November.

The 22-year-old right-hander, who threw a perfect game in April 2022 and helped Japan win the 2023 World Baseball Classic, has said he wants to pursue a career in the major leagues.

"I'm thinking about making him an offer," said Ibata, who spoke to Sasaki during his visit to Lotte's training camp in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture.

Sasaki replied he will work hard without getting injured, according to Ibata.

The Premier12 tournament, the third in history, features the top 12 teams in the world as determined by the World Baseball Softball Confederation rankings and will be held from Nov. 10-24, with the championship game scheduled for Tokyo Dome.

"I don't think major leaguers will play in the Premier12. I can only see him as one of our aces," Ibata said.

South Korea won the inaugural Premier12 in 2015, and Japan won the second edition four years later.

© Kyodo News