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Maeda wants to pitch for MLB All-Stars in Japan

MLB.com @jonmorosi

LOS ANGELES -- During the most recent MLB All-Star Tour of Japan, in 2014, Kenta Maeda and Shohei Ohtani were among the top pitchers for the Japanese national team.

With the next installment of the All-Star Tour scheduled for November, Maeda wants to compete on home soil once again -- this time, on the MLB side. 

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LOS ANGELES -- During the most recent MLB All-Star Tour of Japan, in 2014, Kenta Maeda and Shohei Ohtani were among the top pitchers for the Japanese national team.

With the next installment of the All-Star Tour scheduled for November, Maeda wants to compete on home soil once again -- this time, on the MLB side. 

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Maeda, in his third season with the Dodgers, told MLB.com on Friday that one of his goals for 2018 is to pitch well enough that he's invited to represent the MLB All-Stars. 

"I'm not sure if I can qualify, being on the MLB All-Star side, but I'm going to work hard to be able to qualify for that," Maeda said through interpreter Will Ireton. 

The 2018 MLB All-Star Tour will consist of six games, held from Nov. 8-15 in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya. Maeda indicated that he would love to pitch in the fourth game of the series, in Hiroshima -- where he spent eight seasons playing for the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Maeda's international experience includes starring for Japan at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, when he posted a 2-1 record and 0.60 ERA in three starts.

There is precedent for Japanese-born players to compete as MLB All-Stars in the Tour, against their home country's national team; Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and former Cubs left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada pitched for the MLB team in 2014. 

This year's All-Star Tour will take on heightened importance for the Japanese national team, as it prepares to host the baseball competition at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

In addition to the All-Star Tour, MLB has announced plans for the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics to open the 2019 Major League season at the Tokyo Dome from March 20-21. 

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenta Maeda