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Friday, Jan. 27, 2012

Tanaka, Saito to lead Japanese team


The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles' Masahiro Tanaka and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters' Yuki Saito were named to the 24-man Japan roster on Thursday for a charity game against Taiwan at Tokyo Dome on March 10.

The game will be held the day before the first anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan, and Taiwan has been chosen as Japan's opponent because of its devoted fundraising activities.

Tanaka and Saito are two of the most popular players in Japan since they staged a scintillating pitching duel in the final of the national high school championship back in 2006.

In 2011, Tanaka won the prestigious Sawamura Award in his fifth year as a pro in a close vote over Yu Darvish, while Saito had a mediocre rookie season after four years of college baseball.

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