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03/24/09 1:40 PM ET
Classic's All-Tournament Team named
Cuba's Cepeda, Korea's Tae Kyun Kim only unanimous selections
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic for a second time, and he was joined by teammates Hisashi Iwakuma and Norichika Aoki on the All-Tournament Team, released on Tuesday. That trio helped lead Japan to a second straight Classic title with its 5-3 victory over Korea in the championship game on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Matsuzaka, who posted a 3-0 record with a 2.45 ERA, was named the MVP after the game. But Matsuzaka said that Iwakuma, who started the final against Korea and went 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance, deserved the award. "I didn't think that it was going to be me at all," Matsuzaka said. "I felt that I was lucky, and I felt that it couldn't be compared to Mr. Iwakuma, who pitched today. So I felt that Iwakuma would get the MVP." Instead Iwakuma had to settle for making the All-Tournament Team along with outfielder Aoki, who batted .324 with 12 hits, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Nine others were named to the All-Tournament Team, selected by media members. Players were chosen at every position, along with a designated hitter and three pitchers. Cuba outfielder Frederich Cepeda and Korea first baseman Tae Kyun Kim were the only unanimous selections. Cepeda batted .500 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, and Kim batted .345 with three homers and a tournament-high 11 RBIs. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who went 4-for-4 in Team USA's 9-4 loss to Japan in the semifinals, was the only American to make the team. In all, Rollins batted .417 with a home run and four RBIs, and he tied for the tournament lead in stolen bases, with four. Rounding out the team is Puerto Rico catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Venezuela second baseman Jose Lopez, Korea third baseman Bum Ho Lee, Cuba outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, Korea DH Hyun Soo Kim and Korea pitcher Jung Keun Bong.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.