Norichika Aoki to sit out the World Baseball Classic

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Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki has told Japan manager Koji Yamamoto that he will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic because he wants to prepare for the 2013 season.

Not playing in the WBC is the new black. Aoki joins Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma as no-shows for Japan and Shin-Soo Choo as a no-show for South Korea.

We still have Johnny Damon playing for Thailand, of course. Because that’s critical.

 

Ronald Acuña Jr. reaches a rare home run milestone

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run in today’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In so doing he become only the third player to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Matthews, who hit 42 and 47, respectively, before turning 22. Ott was only 20 in fact.

Home run marks are a dime a dozen this year, of course, so maybe you want to discount Acuña’s accomplishment. Even if you do, though, you can’t discount his wheels. He didn’t have a stolen base this afternoon but he does have 37 on the year and has over a week to swipe three more. If he does he’ll become a member of the exclusive 40/40 club. It’s only current members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.

The Braves win clinches at least a tie for the NL East title. They’ll clinch the division outright if either they win or the Nationals lose tomorrow.