Major League Baseball is invading Japan for the first time since 2006. A team of 29 players and a six-man coaching staff are off to Japan for a five-game series against the Japanese National team.
Seattle Mariners All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and 2013 AL Cy Young finalist Hisashi Iwakuma are on the U.S.A. squad. They join the likes of Yasiel Puig, Dexter Fowler, Jose Altuve and Ben Zobrist.
Albert Pujols and Bryce Harper were originally slated to represent the US but had to back out late. Here is the full roster from MLB Public Relations via Twitter:
The two teams played this series every other year from 1988 until 2006. The MLB teams are 9-1 in the 10 series all-time and 48-20 in the individual contests. The lone series win by Japan was in 1990.
The 2014 All-Star series begins Wednesday with the first of the five-game series. They will also play in two exhibition games, one prior to the series and one after. All of the games will be broadcast on MLB Network, but you will have to stay up really late to watch them live.
Again, via the MLBPR Twitter account, here is the full schedule:
Games are set for 1AM PST each day (with the exception of the 5th game of the series which is set for 2 AM PST) and are rebroadcast at 6 PM PST each night. SodoMojo will have game recaps and box scores for you each morning at 7 AM in case you are unable to watch.
One final note. The Mariners have two representatives. No coaches are listed as being on the staff. So, who is this helping the team prepare for their trip?
Hard to see? Check this one out too. I can’t find word of another player or coach heading out with the team from the Mariners, but this really has me scratching my head.
If anyone knows who this mystery Mariner is, drop me a line in the comment section. It’s not Lloyd McClendon. Who is it?
Be sure to watch what will surely be a tremendous series over the next 10 days.