Red Sox

Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida wins World Baseball Classic title with Team Japan

Former Red Sox Kyle Schwarber blasted a solo shot for Team USA in the eighth inning.

Masataka Yoshida #34 of Team Japan at bat against Team Mexico during the second inning during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at loanDepot park on March 20, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
Yoshida batted .409 over seven games with Team Japan during the WBC. Eric Espada/Getty Images

Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida is bringing some hardware back to Fort Myers this week.

Boston’s top free-agent pickup played a key role in Team Japan’s run to a third World Baseball Classic championship, leading all players in the tournament with 13 RBI.

Even though Yoshida went 0-for-3 at the plate in Team Japan’s 3-2 win over defending champion Team USA in Tuesday’s title game, the 29-year-old outfielder still batted .409 (9-for-22) over seven games with two home runs, four walks and just one strikeout.

Shohei Ohtani led the way for Team Japan with a .435 batting average to go along with four doubles, one home run, and eight RBI. The 2021 AL MVP also closed out Tuesday’s game on the mound, striking out Angels teammate Mike Trout to seal the title for his home country.

A few former Red Sox sluggers made their presence felt for Team USA on Tuesday night.


With Team USA trailing Japan 3-1 in the top of the eighth, Kyle Schwarber made it a one-run game with just one swing of the bat.

On the 10th pitch of an extended at-bat against Yu Darvish, Schwarber golfed a hanging splitter into the right-field bleachers for a solo home run.

With Ohtani on the mound in the ninth, Team USA threatened after Jeff McNeil worked a leadoff walk. But Mookie Betts snuffed out any hope of a rally by grounding into a double play.

Betts finished the WBC with a .313 average over seven games with one extra-base hit and one RBI.

Yoshida, who is expected to slot into the cleanup spot in Boston’s lineup, offered a tantalizing preview of what he can inject into the heart of the order against MLB pitching over the last two weeks.

“He’s really disciplined at the plate. That’s something that stood out to me,” Team Japan and Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar said of Yoshida, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.  “He wasn’t getting hits in the first couple exhibition games, but you could see that confidence in him and how he just controlled the [strike] zone, didn’t get rattled or anything like that.


“I think as a hitter that’s super important to be able to maintain that strike zone discipline when things aren’t going well. He does such a great job of that. I think the sky’s the limit for him. He’s just a professional hitter and you could see right it away.”


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