Ichiro, Kuroda the latest Japanese players to bail on the WBC

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First Yu Darvish, then Hisashi Iwakuma, then Norichika Aoki and now Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda are giving the WBC a miss:

Ichiro Suzuki has told Japanese baseball officials he has decided not to take part in next year’s World Baseball Classic. Suzuki said Monday, “I appreciate being asked to play for Japan again at the WBC, but after the second tournament in 2009 I never considered playing in the third event” … Yankees’ pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, also a free agent, also said Monday he would not play in the WBC.

It’s not like Japan has a shortage of baseball talent or anything, but it is notable just how many of the big names who went stateside aren’t playing in the WBC.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: