Kuriyama Fills Out WBC Roster, Includes Nootbaar, Yoshida

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama speaks at a press conference on Thursday in Tokyo.

Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama filled out the rest of his roster for the upcoming 2023 World Baseball Classic, naming the remaining 18 players on Thursday in Tokyo for the tournament that starts in March.

“[Our goal is] to be No. 1 in the world, only that,” Kuriyama said at a press conference in Tokyo.

Outfielders Lars Nootbaar of St. Louis Cardinals and Masataka Yoshida of Boston Red Sox were among the second wave of selections, bringing the total of major league players on the 30-man squad known as Samurai Japan to five, the most since the 2009 tournament. Nootbaar’s mother is Japanese

Kuriyama had announced the first 12 players on the roster on Jan. 6., including Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

The team features a mix of youth and veterans, power and speed. Among the 15 pitchers selected was young Yomiuri Giants reliever Taisei Ota, while the position players include Giants slugger Kazuma Okamoto and the fleet-footed Takumu Nakano of Hanshin Tigers.

The Samurai Japan will hold a training camp in Miyazaki from Feb. 17. The Tokyo Pool of the first round, organized by The Yomiuri Shimbun and others, will start March 9.