On Friday, the Major League Baseball announced that players have been chosen to take on a trip to Japan for seven total games to take on players from the Japanese All-Star squad, according to ESPN. This is the 11th Japanese All-Star Series between Japan and USA.
The 29 players announced Friday that will travel to Japan to play in the offseason festivity:
Pitchers: Jeff Beliveau, Jerry Blevins, Chris Capuano, Randy Choate, Jeremy Guthrie, Tommy Hunter, Hisashi Iwakuma, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker, Jose Veras, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Rob Wooten.
Bud Selig, MLB’s Commissioner said, “Major League Baseball is delighted that many of our finest players will represent our sport during the 2014 Japan All-Star Tour. This event will not only resume a longtime baseball tradition, but also will illustrate the historic bond that links us to our Japanese friends and peers. On behalf of our Clubs, I thank Nippon Professional Baseball, and all of us at Major League Baseball look forward to another memorable experience.”
Salvador Perez got his 158th start at catcher during the regular and postseason at Game 7 of the World Series, the most since 1914. However, the 24-year-old catcher wants more as he will be playing behind the plate over the next few days.
According to the Major League Baseball Players Association, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, Washington outfielder Bryce Harper and Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones all withdrew because of other commitments.
The Japan team is led by Shohei Otani, Shintaro Fujinami, Tetsuto Yamada, Takahiro Norimoto and of course Kenta Maeda. Many of these players played in the World Baseball Classic, including Maeda. Japan’s starting pitcher is very important in this competition because he will be able to show off his skills to MLB clubs. He starred in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and could land with a team in the Majors this offseason.
Of particular interest to American fans should be right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda, who starred in the 2013 Classic and could land with an MLB club this winter. Maeda has pitched for seven years in Japan. and has put up a career 2.44 ERA, 1,058 strikeouts in 1,303 1/3 innings. He’s has thrown 23 complete games with 10 of those being shutouts. Many say he has potential to become a front-end starter like Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma.
The Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series is a set of games between All-Star teams from North America’s Major League Baseball (MLB) and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), except 2014, where the Japan national team (known as “Samurai Japan”) will compete. The series takes place every even-numbered year in NPB home stadiums. There have been many great players to step on the field in the series including Norichika Aoki, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Jr., Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, David Wright, Jose Reyes and Manny Ramirez. The American, Canadian and Japanese national anthems are all played before all games.
THE RULES ACCORDING TO MLB.COM:
> Pitchers may not throw more than 80 pitches in a game. If a pitcher exceeds that limit while facing a batter, he is allowed to finish the plate appearance, but he must leave the game immediately upon its conclusion.
> If a pitcher throws more than 30 pitches in any one outing or appears in two consecutive games, he must have a day of rest before pitching again. This rule does not apply for either of the exhibition games (Nov. 11 and 20).
> The designated hitter will be in play in all games.
> If there is a tie after the 10th inning, the game will go into a tiebreak with runners on first and second base. The batting order will not change, with the two last batters from the previous inning starting on the bases. The game will end as a draw if both teams are tied after the 12th inning. The two exhibition games will end as a draw if tied after the ninth.
All-Star Series 2014 Schedule, all take place at 4:00 AM Eastern Time on MLB Network and will be re-ran by MLB Network at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The tour includes a five-game series against Japan’s national team from Nov. 12-18 that will be preceded and followed by exhibition games in multiple cities in Japan.
Tuesday, Nov. 11: Exhibition Game vs. Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants at Koshien
Wednesday, Nov. 12th: Game #1 at Kyocera Dome, Osaka
Friday, Nov. 14th: Game #2 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
Saturday, Nov. 15th: Game #3 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
Sunday, Nov. 16th: Game #4 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
Tuesday, Nov. 18th: Game #5 at Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
Thursday, Nov. 20th: Exhibition Game vs Team Japan, Okinawa