Baseball: MLB's Yoshida, Nootbaar named to Japan's WBC roster

New Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar were among the final players added to Japan's World Baseball Classic roster on Thursday.

Manager Hideki Kuriyama, looking to guide Samurai Japan to its third championship and first since 2009, rounded out his 30-man roster with the addition of Yoshida, Nootbaar, and 16 domestic stars.

Kuriyama announced the first 12 players in early January, including Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish and Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Japan will play its first game on March 9 against China in Pool B at Tokyo Dome. The top two teams will each take on one of two teams advancing from Pool A played in Taiwan in single-game quarterfinals, also in Tokyo.

The semifinals will be played on March 19 and 20 in Miami, where the final will also be held on March 21.

Japan failed to advance past the semifinals in the last two tournaments.

© Kyodo News