In Japan for an All-Star tour, baseball officials said Friday the sport will open an office in Beijing within a month to help promote the game in a nation that has a population of more than 1.3 billion.
The most dominant pitcher in Japanese baseball for the last eight seasons, Daisuke Matsuzaka had his path cleared when the Seibu Lions officially agreed to release the 26-year-old ace.
In Sunday's Pool A finale of the World Baseball Classic, Japan felt the Korean boom.
A procession of major-league pitchers helped Korea hold off bitter Asian rival Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the WBC opener on Friday.
Seibu Lions shortstop Kazuo Matsui, a seven-time All-Star in Japan, said Monday at a news conference that he's decided to pursue a big league career in North America.