Japan is the two-time defending World Baseball Classic Champion with pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka being named Tournament MVP in both 2006 and 2009. Team Japan defeated Cuba 10- 6 in 2006 with Ichiro Suzuki scoring three of Japan's runs. In 2009, Japan faced Korea in the Final and had a 3-2 lead in the ninth when the Koreans scored a run off Yu Darvish to send the game into extra innings. In the 10th, Ichiro drove in two on a single to give Japan a 5-3 win. There are currently 12 players signed to professional contracts in the United States including Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
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