Japan to play Australia as part of final WBC warm-ups

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan will play Australia in February as part of its final preparations for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Nippon Professional Baseball said Thursday.
Manager Koji Yamamoto's team will take on Australia at Kyocera Dome in Osaka on Feb. 23 and 24 before moving to Fukuoka for games at Yahoo Dome against the Hanshin Tigers on Feb. 26 and the Yomiuri Giants on Feb. 28.
Japan will begin its campaign for a third consecutive WBC title with a Pool A game against Brazil on March 2 at Yahoo Dome before taking on China two days later. Japan will play its final first-round game against Cuba on March 6.
All of Japan's first-round games will start at 7 p.m.
The top two clubs in the round-robin competition will advance to Pool 1 of the quarterfinals at Tokyo Dome starting March 8 against the top two clubs from Pool B in Taichung, Taiwan.
The top two teams playing in a modified double-elimination format will advance to the final round at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Australia is in Pool B along with Asian powerhouse South Korea, qualifier Taiwan and the Netherlands, who reached the quarterfinals in 2009.

(Read full story on The Mainichi)