Ohtani Shohei to play for Japan in World Baseball Classic

Japan's national team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic tournament includes Los Angeles Angels two-way star Ohtani Shohei and other top players.

Team manager Kuriyama Hideki named 12 team members to the roster on Friday.

Ohtani joined the news conference and said the team is made up of brilliant players, and his only goal is to win the championship.

Another Major League pitcher on the roster is Darvish Yu of the San Diego Padres.

Coming from the Japanese leagues are, Togo Shosei of the Yomiuri Giants, and Sasaki Roki of the Chiba Lotte Marines who holds the Japan record as the youngest pitcher to achieve a perfect game.

Also selected were, Yamamoto Yoshinobu of the Orix Buffaloes who won the prestigious Sawamura Award for the second straight year and Imanaga Shota of the Yokohama DeNA Baystars.

Kai Takuya of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks will be catcher.

Infielders are Genda Sosuke of the Saitama Seibu Lions and Maki Shugo of DeNA. They are joined by Murakami Munetaka of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows -- the youngest player to win three batting titles in Japan.

Outfielders are Kondoh Kensuke of SoftBank and Suzuki Seiya of the Chicago Cubs.

The rest of the team will be announced later this month.

Kuriyama said he needs to consult with the Angels concerning how to arrange Ohtani's stint at the WBC.

Kuriyama expressed resolve to win the title so the team can bring energy, courage and dreams to the people.

The tournament will start on March 8.

Japan is in Group B with China, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Australia. The group round will be played at Tokyo Dome.

The top two teams will advance to the quarterfinals to be held in the same venue.

The semifinals and the final will be played in Miami in the US state of Florida between March 19 and 21.