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Hara disappointed by Saito WBC withdrawal

Hara disappointed by Saito WBC withdrawal

Japan manager Tatsunori Hara expressed his diappointment Thursday in Takashi Saito's decision to sit out the World Baseball Classic but understands the pitcher's situation.
Saito, who had 18 saves and a 2.49 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers despite being limited by an elbow injury, agreed to a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Saito announced his withdrawal from WBC consideration in order to prepare for the upcoming season with the Red Sox.
"It's a shame but I understand his position," Hara told reporters Thursday. "We'll continue to go forward with a positive outlook."
Saito becomes the second Japanese major league pitcher to pull out of the WBC following Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers.
Japan, which won the inaugural WBC in 2006, will begin the defense of its title in the 2009 tournament on March 5 in Tokyo.