Japan names provisional 45-man squad for Premier12

TOKYO (AP) Two-way player Shohei Otani was among 45 players named Thursday in Japan's provisional squad for the inaugural Premier12 baseball tournament.

Otani, who pitches and plays outfield for the Nippon Ham Fighters, is 13-4 this season with a 2.69 ERA. Former New York Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who is 8-6 for the Hiroshima Carp with a 2.75 ERA this season, was also named.

The Premier12 tournament features the top 12 countries in the World Baseball Softball Confederation's rankings.

The event will be held in Japan and Taiwan from Nov. 8-21 to help showcase the sport's popularity in the region as baseball and softball vie for a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

No Japanese players from Major League Baseball were named to the squad.

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