Matsuzaka willing to play for Japan at WBC

Nov 21, 2008 - 4:53 PM TOKYO (Ticker) -- Boston Red Sox righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready to help Japan defend its World Baseball Classic title.

According to a story in Friday's Japan Times, Matsuzaka said he will play for his country in March 2009 if they want him.

"I'll accept the offer once I'm asked to play," Matsuzaka said. "I'll pick up the pace of my training in December so that I won't have to scramble in the last minute (for the WBC)."

Matsuzaka, who had a stellar second season with Boston in posting an 18-3 record and a 2.90 earned run average in 2008, was named the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural WBC.

The 29-year-old righthander went 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in the event, including a victory over Cuba in the championship game.

Tatsunori Hara, the manager of the Yomiuri Giants manager, will head Japan's team at next year's tournament.

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