By Manny Randhawa, Special to

The spacious dimensions and often contentious weather conditions at AT&T Park proved tough for Japan’s hitters as they were eliminated from the WBC for the first time ever (Photo: MLB Advanced Media)

(Below is an excerpt; click “Read More” link to see full article at

SAN FRANCISCO — Before Japan’s run of World Baseball Classic dominance came to an end Sunday night at AT&T Park, manager Koji Yamamoto said he didn’t instruct his hitters to change their approach in a ballpark that yielded the fewest home runs in the 2012 Major League Baseball season.

“Nothing special,” the Japanese skipper said about his strategy.

Nothing special, unfortunately for Japan, is also a good way to describe the team’s offense — or lack thereof — in its 3-1 Classic semifinal loss to Puerto Rico.

Japan’s big bats went cold, as ordinarily reliable run producers Shinnosuke Abe, Nobuhiro Matsuda, Yoshio Itoi and Hirokazu Ibata combined to go 2-for-13, and the team as a whole managed six hits.     | Read More

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