World Baseball Classic: Japan warms up for quarterfinal against Italy

In the World Baseball Classic tournament, Team Japan is gearing up for its quarterfinal game against Italy on Thursday.

Japan won all four of its first-round games.

Two-way star Ohtani Shohei, pitcher Darvish Yu and their teammates began practicing around noon on Tuesday at Tokyo Dome, where the quarterfinal will be played.

Slugger Murakami Munetaka, whose first-round batting average was just over .100, belted seven homerun-size hits in batting practice, including one that struck a sign above the stands.

Murakami later told reporters that he is not in 100-percent shape but cannot make excuses now because if they lose the next game, they are out of the tournament.

Ohtani reportedly threw in the bullpen after fielding practice.

Team manager Kuriyama Hideki said that from now on, the tournament will be a completely different fight. He said he will determine the players' conditions and try to come up with a balanced lineup that has the best chance of winning.