TOKYO (AP) - Ichiro Suzuki has told Japanese baseball officials he has decided not to take part in next year's World Baseball Classic.
Suzuki said Monday, "I appreciate being asked to play for Japan again at the WBC, but after the second tournament in 2009 I never considered playing in the third event."
Suzuki, who was instrumental in helping Japan win the WBC in 2006 and 2009, joins fellow Japanese major leaguers Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki in opting out of the March 2-19 tournament.
Suzuki, a free agent, was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the New York Yankees in July. Yankees' pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, also a free agent, also said Monday he would not play in the WBC.