Yakult Swallows catcher Yuhei Nakamura revealed Tuesday he will be part of the Japan squad for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, having learned of his selection in a phone call with skipper Hideki Kuriyama late last year.
Practicing with the Swallows in Matsuyama on the western main island of Shikoku, the 32-year-old Nakamura said he hoped to contribute to Japan winning its third championship at the March 8-21 WBC.
"I want to do my best to help Kuriyama-san so we can become world champions," Nakamura said. "I want to prepare well."
The 2021 Japan Series MVP said he was excited by the prospect of playing alongside MLB stars, including Los Angeles Angels two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani and San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I think it'll be exciting. I hope I can communicate with them confidently."
Ohtani, Darvish and Nakamura's Triple Crown-winning Swallows teammate Munetaka Murakami were among the first 12 men named to the Samurai Japan roster by Kuriyama on Friday.
The complete roster is expected to be announced later this month before a training camp in Miyazaki between Feb. 17 and 27.