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Baseball: Shohei Ohtani gets nod from Angels to take part in his 1st WBC

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, left, congratulates pitcher Patrick Sandoval, right, after a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, on Aug. 19, 2022. The Angels won 1-0. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (Kyodo) -- Two-way star Shohei Ohtani was given approval Friday to take part in his first World Baseball Classic next March by Los Angeles Angels General Manager Perry Minasian.

    Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, in July spoke of his desire to play in the tournament after missing the last edition in 2017 due to a right ankle injury while he was still a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.

    Also in July, Ohtani's Angels teammate Mike Trout said he will captain the United States at the 2023 WBC.

    "Obviously, Mike wanted to play and we had that conversation. I think it's an opportunity for players," Minasian said. "The WBC is great for the game, showing off the talent not only in the major league bubble but off to the world. I think it's really important."

    "Anybody that wants to play will be in discussion about it, we'll see where they are at physically and we'll go from there."

    Minasian was also happy to see Ohtani take up the two-way role for his country.

    "Obviously (he is) a special player, I think it's something that he wants to do and we'll not stand in his way," he said.

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