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Japan's Suzuki, Kuroda will skip WBC

The SportsXchange

Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda announced that they will not play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic next spring.

Both players are free agents who concluded the 2012 season with the New York Yankees.

Suzuki, 39, helped Japan win the first two WBC titles, in 2006 and 2009. Kuroda did not appear in either tournament.

"I appreciate being asked to play for Japan again at the WBC," Suzuki said, according to the Kyodo news agency. "But after the second tournament in 2009, I never considered playing in the third event. My feelings have not changed to this day, and it's where things stand."

Kuroda, 37, cited his heavy recent workload for the Yankees.

"When I factored my age, the number of starts I made (33) and the innings I pitched this year, it was going to be a stretch for me to be in the right condition for March," Kuroda said, according to the Kyodo news agency.

The report added that Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish, Seattle Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki also declined offers to play for Japan.

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