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Japan, South Korea win at WBC
By wire services
Published March 4, 2006
TOKYO - Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Kosuke Fukudome hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning Friday to lead Japan to an 18-2 rout of China in the World Baseball Classic.
Seattle Mariners slugger Ichiro Suzuki, the only position player from the major leagues representing Japan, went 1-for-6 with an RBI. Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox infielder Tadahito Iguchi are not playing.
Earlier, Jae-Weong Seo of the Los Angeles Dodgers allowed two hits and Chan Ho Park of the San Diego Padres worked three effective innings for a save as South Korea blanked Taiwan 2-0 in the opener of the inaugural 16-nation tournament.
In exhibition games leading up to Friday's opener, Japan had trouble scoring. But manager Sadaharu Oh vowed his team would be ready.
"I did mention small ball, but I didn't think we'd need it in this round because we are the most powerful team," Oh said. "In Asia, we're strong and we have speed and we were able to show that tonight. When we get to the United States, we may have to change our tactics."
China tied it at 2 in the fourth at Tokyo Dome on a two-run homer by catcher Wei Wang that just cleared the wall in right.
Group A games are in Japan. The top two teams will advance to the second round in Anaheim, Calif., where they will face the top two teams from Group B, which includes the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa.
CUBS: Pitcher Kerry Wood will have minor arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. He threw on the side Friday and will do so again Monday. Manager Dusty Baker said the surgery does not appear to be serious and that Wood's main problem has been running.
GIANTS: Manager Felipe Alou said that Barry Bonds will not play against the Cubs today or Team USA in a split-squad game Sunday. Bonds said he is pleased with the methodical progress he is making recovering from knee surgery.
MARLINS: Second baseman Pokey Reese failed to show up for two consecutive days of spring training without explanation, briefly raising concerns regarding his whereabouts before he contacted his agent, the team said. General manager Larry Beinfest said Reese gave no indication that he was taking time off, and for two days the team had no idea where he was. Reese missed a workout Thursday. The Marlins had him in the lineup for Friday's game against Baltimore, but he again failed to show.
NATIONALS: Outfielder Jose Guillen has a wrist injury that could require surgery and sideline him for three months. A hand specialist diagnosed swollen tendons and a damaged tendon in the left wrist. Guillen told the team he thought he'd hurt himself during weight training.
RED SOX: Curt Schilling struck out his first two batters of spring training. He allowed one hit in four shutout innings. And, he said, he doesn't think about the ankle that ruined his 2005 season. Boston's ace of 2004, who struggled with his injury most of last year, was outstanding in his exhibition debut, a 10-0 win over Boston College in a seven-inning game. "I think I can be better than I was in 2004 simply because I have 2004 to use as an experience. I'm a year smarter on the hitters in this league," Schilling said.
TWINS: Journeyman pitcher Gabe White, 34, told the team he is retiring.
MINOR-LEAGUE UMPS VOTE TO STRIKE: Minor-league baseball umpires voted Friday to authorize their first strike since forming a union in 2000 and said Triple-A members would not serve as fill-in major-league umps until there is a contract. The minor-league umps, whose five-year labor deal expired in November, had previously voted not to work spring training games. The decision whether to strike will be made by the union's officers.