Japan claimed the top spot in Pool 1 of the World Baseball Classic with a 10-6 win over the Netherlands in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Designated hitter Shinnosuke Abe belted two home runs for four RBI in Japan’s eight-run second inning. Centre-fielder Hisayoshi Chono led Japan with five RBI in the game.
Japan finished the second round of the tournament with a 3-0 record and will face the runner-up of Pool 2 when the semifinal round begins March 17 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Dutch, who finished second in Pool 1, will face the winner of Pool 2 March 18.
In other WBC action, the Dominican Republic pulled off a late rally against Italy for a 5-4 victory to kick off the second round for Pool 2 in Miami.
Italy started the game with a four-run first inning thanks in part to a three-run homer from outfielder Chris Colabello.
The Dominicans fought back, however, and Nelson Cruz's two-out single in the seventh punctuated a three-run inning.
GREINKE MYSTERY INJURY
After experiencing discomfort in his pitching elbow Monday, right-hander Zack Greinke was diagnosed with inflammation of the joint.
But apparently that’s not the end of the story for the Los Angeles Dodgers starter.
According to the Los Angeles Times, not only does Greinke not know what’s wrong with his elbow, he’s not sure he’ll be able to make his first scheduled start April 2 against the visiting San Francisco Giants.
Greinke, 29, signed a six-year, $147-million contract with the Dodgers in the off-season. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner had a 3.48 earned-run average and 200 strikeouts in 212.1 innings between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels in 2012.
WORRIED ABOUT DOC
Roy Halladay had a rough day on the mound again Tuesday.
The Philadelphia Phillies right-hander gave up four walks, a grand slam and seven runs in a spring training tilt against the Detroit Tigers. He was also pitching with mid-80s velocity.
“Yeah, it concerns me,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told the Philadelphia Daily News. “But at the same time, I’ve been in the game long enough to know that if there’s nothing wrong with him, you keep working with him.
“If he’s healthy and well and there’s nothing wrong with him, then he’s got to get stretched out and everything.”
Halladay said there’s nothing wrong other than feeling lethargic, likely due to a new workout regimen and the two bullpen sessions he threw before Monday’s game.
JOHNNY MAC ON THE BLOCK
John McDonald’s days with the Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be numbered.
Arizona is looking to trade the utility infielder because he’s behind Willie Bloomquist and Cliff Pennington on the depth chart, according to Fox Sports.
McDonald, 38, is owed $1.5 million this season. Known more for his glove than his bat, he hit .249 last season with six home runs and 22 RBI in 70 games.
McDonald has also spent time with the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, plus two stints with the Toronto Blue Jays.