Team Japan names 39 final candidates

June 20th, 2008

According to Kyodo, Japan release their 39 final candidates of 2008 Beijing Olympic Baseball Team.

Japan manager Senichi Hoshino kept Uehara, who has pitched in major international events such as the Athens Olympics and the World Baseball Classic, on the roster although he has been sent to Yomiuri’s farm team and is recovering from leg problems after a rocky start to the season.

But Lotte Marines right-hander Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Rakuten Eagles left-hander Kohei Hasebe and Chunichi Dragons infielder Masahiko Morino were left out of the roster because of disappointing showings this season as Hoshino and coaching staff reduced the team’s roster to 39 from 81.

The three players were on the team that won the Asian Championship in Taiwan last December to earn an Olympic berth.

”We had a hard time picking 39 guys because so many players are injured. I hope the members will compete with each other without picking up injuries,” Hoshino said.

The team is scheduled to announce the final 24-man roster in mid-July.

Japan will face three-time gold medal winner Cuba in its opening game of the Beijing Olympic tournament. Japan is looking for its first Olympic gold medal since baseball became an official medal sport in 1992. The country has won a silver and two bronzes with one fourth-place finish.

Japan’s roster

Pitchers — Koji Uehara (Yomiuri Giants), Kenshin Kawakami, Hitoki Iwase, Kazuki Yoshimi (Chunichi Dragons), Minoru Iwata, Kyuji Fujikawa, Tomoyuki Kubota (Hanshin Tigers), Yu Darvish (Nippon Ham Fighters), Yoshihisa Naruse, Shunsuke Watanabe (Lotte Marines), Tsuyoshi Wada, Yuki Kume, Toshiya Sugiuchi (Softbank Hawks), Masahiro Tanaka, Hisashi Iwakuma (Rakuten Eagles), Hideaki Wakui (Seibu Lions)

Catchers — Shinnosuke Abe (Yomiuri Giants), Akihiro Yano (Hanshin Tigers), Ryoji Aikawa (Yokohama BayStars), Yoshiyuki Ishihara (Hiroshima Carp), Tomoya Satozaki (Lotte Marines), Toru Hosokawa (Seibu Lions)

Infielders — Michihiro Ogasawara (Yomiuri Giants), Masahiro Araki, Hirokazu Ibata (Chunichi Dragons), Takahiro Arai (Hanshin Tigers), Shuichi Murata (Yokohama BayStars), Shinya Miyamoto (Yakult Swallows), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (Lotte Marines), Munenori Kawasaki (Softbank Hawks), Hiroyuki Nakajima, Yasuyuki Kataoka (Seibu Lions)

Outfielders — Yoshinobu Takahashi (Yomiuri Giants), Kazuhiro Wada (Chunichi Dragons), Norihiro Akahoshi (Hanshin Tigers), Norichika Aoki (Yakult Swallows), Atsunori Inaba (Nippon Ham Fighters), Saburo Omura (Lotte Marines), Takahiko G.G. Sato (Seibu Lions)

Can’t wait for the final 24.

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