TOKYO (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki has decided not to participate in next year's World Baseball Classic, becoming the latest Japanese major leaguer to opt out of the tournament.
Aoki told Japan manager Koji Yamamoto that he couldn't take part because he has to prepare for next season with the Brewers, the Nikkansports newspaper reported Wednesday.
Pitchers Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners already informed two-time defending champion Japan they will not be available for the March 2-19 WBC.
Yamamoto said an offer has been made to Ichiro Suzuki but doesn't expect a response until the star outfielder knows where he will play next season. Suzuki, a free agent, was instrumental in Japan's WBC wins in 2006 and 2009. He was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the New York Yankees in July.