Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki will not participate in the World Baseball Classic, according to a report from the Japanese newspaper Nikkansports.
Aoki has reportedly told Japan manager Koji Yamamoto that he is skipping the tournament in order to prepare for his second season with the Brewers. The World Baseball Classic runs from March 2-19 and interferes with major league spring training.
Aoki, 30, is the third major Japanese player to bow out of the tournament, joining Texas pitcher Yu Darvish and Seattle pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.
In his first season in the majors in 2012, Aoki hit .288 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI while stealing 30 bases for the Brewers. Aoki recently finished fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year race. He’s signed through 2013 with a club option for 2014.