The provisional rosters were announced by the MLB for the World Baseball Classic, and seven Dodgers are slated to represent their respective countries.
Adrian Gonzalez will be Team Mexico’s captain and first baseman. Gonzo also represented Mexico in the 2006 and 2009 WBC. Joining him on Team Mexico will also be Luis Cruz. Cruz will be making his second appearance, his first being back in 2006. He is listed as Team Mexico’s shortstop. Hanley Ramirez will represent Team Dominican Republic for the second time, and he will play third base. Nick Punto will be on Team Italy for the second time, and he will play his usual role as utility man. Paco Rodriguez will make his first appearance for Team Spain. Ronald Belisario will be available out of the bullpen for Team Venezuela. Minor League infielder Felipe Burin will also play and represent Team Panama. Peter Moylan, who is one of the newest Dodgers but whose deal has not yet been officially announced, will pitch for Australia. There are no Dodgers on Team USA.
Luis Cruz had this to say about his participation in the WBC for Team Mexico:
“It means a lot to me to play for Mexico in the WBC. For me, it’s a big honor to be a Dodger, and now, to be able to play for my country as a Dodger is just a dream. I’m just very happy and thankful.”
Fernando Valenzuela will also be the pitching coach for Team Mexico, and this will be his third time doing so (he was the pitching coach for Team Mexico in 2006 and 2009).
Each Federation will submit a finalized 28-man roster by February 20th. The World Baseball Classic will begin on Saturday, March 2nd. The Dodgers will host Team Mexico in an exhibition game on March 6th at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.
There are 16 Federations competing in the International Baseball Federation (IBF) sanctioned tournament. The winner will be crowned the “World Champion.” Founded in 2005 to promote the game globally, the WBC is played every four years. Japan won in 2006 and 2009. Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the M.V.P. for Japan in both of their victories. The United States finished in fourth place in the 2009 installment of the WBC. All the games will be televised on the MLB Network.
You can check out the WBC schedule and buy tickets on the official website. Will you be watching the WBC? I think it’s great that there is a global tournament since baseball and softball in the Olympics has been discontinued. Baseball is a sport which transcends language and cultural differences.