Koji Yamamoto
  • This time, under far different circumstances four years later, two-time reigning champion Japan couldn't pull off a remarkable three-peat.

    Japan's Atsunori Inaba, right, reacts after striking out against Puerto Rico's Mario Santiago during the third inning of a semifinal game of the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, Sunday, March 17, 2013. At left is catcher Yadier Molina.
    LAST UPDATE : Mar 18, 2013, 10:51 AM EDT
  • In this Feb. 23, 2013 file photo, Japan's Ryoji Aikawa, left, is welcomed by manager Koji Yamamoto, right, and coach Osamu Higashio, second from right, after hitting a come-from-behind three-run homer against Australia in the eighth inning of their exhibition baseball game at Kyocera Dome in Osaka, western Japan. The team to beat in the third World Baseball Classic is two-time winner Japan.

    Japan will look to replace the likes of Ichiro Suzuki and Yu Darvish with a new generation of young talent as it bids to capture a third straight World Baseball Classic title.

    LAST UPDATE : Mar 01, 2013, 10:17 AM EST