Americans try to reach WBC title game at last

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The World Baseball Classic begins late Friday night U.S. time and once again Japan is the team to beat.

The Japanese won the international tournament the first two times it was played, in 2006 and 2009, and has a reputation for preparing quite seriously for the event, while some nations will build their teams from players on break from spring training.

The group-play round will be held in four locations around the globe - Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Arizona. The semifinals and final will be in San Francisco.

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