Yu Darvish isn’t the only Japanese starting pitcher planning to skip the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
From the Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, comes word that Hisashi Iwakuma has decided not to pitch for Japan and “will instead focus on preparing for his second season with the Seattle Mariners.”
Iwakuma inked a two-year, $14 million contract extension with the M’s earlier this month after registering a fantastic 3.16 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 101/43 K/BB ratio across 125 1/3 innings in 2012. The deal also includes a $7 million option for 2015.
Darvish and Iwakuma both pitched for Team Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. That group won the country’s second straight title, with Daisuke Matsuzaka earning his second straight tournament MVP.