By Nick Butler at Charlotte Street in London

Michael Roth would fully support baseball at Tokyo 2020 ©Major League Baseball/Getty ImagesDecember 13 - Great Britain's Major League Baseball (MLB) star Michael Roth has strongly supported the sport's bid for inclusion at Tokyo 2020 after the possibility was re-opened last month.

Prospects of this occurring appeared over after wrestling won the race for the single slot at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires in September but President Thomas Bach has since provided new hope.

On a visit to Tokyo last month, he claimed that reintroducing the two sports in baseball mad Japan was "under discussion".

The South Carolina-born Roth, who plays for Los Angeles Angels and represented Britain at last year's World Baseball Classic Qualifier by virtue of his English mother, would strongly support such a decision and emphasised how Tokyo would be a ready-made host.

"That would be awesome and I think Tokyo has the power to actually do that," the 23-year old told insidethegames during a visit to the MLB's Europe, Africa and Middle East headquarters in London.

"Whoever is leading the charge with the Olympic Committee, they're going to argue that there's no need to build a baseball field.

"We already have the field and all the infrastructure provided by the Japanese League.

"It's a big sport in Japan and big business for them - they're gonna want it in the Olympics and and I think they will try and fight hard for it."

The Tokyo Dome has hosted baseball matches at the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and could do so again in 2020 ©Getty ImagesThe Tokyo Dome has hosted baseball matches at the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and could do so again in 2020 ©Getty Images

Baseball and softball were controversially removed from the Olympic programme following Beijing 2008, and the two sports subsequently merged together to best further their re-inclusion prospects. 

They successfully got through to the final round of sports being considered this year by the IOC along with squash and wrestling, but ultimately finished in a distant runners-up spot behind wrestling, which had originally been recommended to be dropped after Rio 2016 but saved itself following an aggressive campaign.

Bach's words, however, have given new hope and appear part of his vision for a more flexible Olympic programme. 

Thomas Bach's visit to Japan, where he met with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, has given baseball new hope ©AFP/Getty ImagesThomas Bach's visit to Japan, where he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has given baseball new hope of a return to the Olympic programme in time for Tokyo 2020 ©AFP/Getty Images

It has also been reported Japanese Baseball Federation (BFJ) chairman Yoshinobu Suzuki visited the Nippon Professional Baseball league this week to secure support for the bid from the nation's largest league.

If successful this would make a remarkable state of affairs for baseball, as well as softball, following the multiple disappointments of recent years. 

Roth, like other members of the baseball fraternity, admitted that the fact the sport missed out on London 2012 was a major setback to its future development.

"There's so many sports I've seen at the Olympics, and you see some where guys are like 'that's not even a sport'," he told insidethegames.

"Baseball is one of those sports that's been there for a while, it's an international sport.

"They should work with the MLB and other pro leagues, or make it just amateur and college teams, but I think it deserves to be included as otherwise it is withholding a large group from participating and pulling on their national jersey's."

After a glittering collegiate career Roth became just the third Briton to compete in the MLB in 2013 ©Getty ImagesAfter a successful collegiate career , MichaelRoth became only the third Briton to compete in Major League Baseball when he made his debut in 2013 ©Getty Images

In terms of whether, should baseball be successful in its bid, he could personally be donning the Team GB jersey come Tokyo 2020, Roth was more ambiguous.

"You never know what's going to happen in sport and you can't look too far ahead," he said.

"I will take each day at a time and move forward.

"Hopefully i'm still playing and if so, who knows?"

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