That matchup between Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the World Baseball Classic may not happen.
Japan will throw Shota Imanaga in Tuesday's final game against the United States after defeating Mexico in the ninth inning.
If Trout is to bat against his Los Angeles Angels teammate, it would only be if Ohtani makes a rare relief appearance.
In the final Monday night against Mexico, Ohtani started third as the designated batter and singled to spark the ninth-inning rally
Asked before the game what chance Ohtani had of pitching Tuesday, Kuriyama replied through a translator: “I won’t say it’s a zero.”
Since joining the Angels in 2018, Ohtani has never relieved, but he relieved twice for the Pacific League's Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2013 and 2016.
"I'll definitely be prepared to pitch wherever, but before that I'll have to hit," Ohtani said through a translator.
Ohtani started and pitched a five-inning blank in a 9-3 semifinal win over Italy in Tokyo on March 16.
He allowed two runs and four hits with five strikeouts and a walk, throwing 71 pitches.