Three Dodgers, who are vying for spots on the roster during this Spring Training camp, have decided to forgo the World Baseball Classic. Paco Rodriguez, the left-handed pitcher who impressed after being called up to the team last September, was going to represent Spain. I feel Paco should have a good shot at making the Opening Day roster since Scott Elbert is sidelined after succumbing to a second elbow surgery this offseason. Rodriguez was the first player to make it to the Major League level from his draft class.
Paco is on the Major League roster already, and he had this to say about his experience at Camelback Ranch thus far:
“This is my first Spring Training with the team. I want to stay here and get used to everything. I wanted to participate, but I felt I needed to stay.”
Alfredo Amezaga, an outfielder, has also withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic. He was slated to represent Mexico. Amezaga, a non-roster invite, will most likely not make the team out of Spring Camp yet he can play all over the outfield and may provide depth for the Dodgers during the season.
Peter Moylan, who was to play for team Australia, is a right-handed reliever and non-roster invite. Like Amezaga who has battled injury throughout his career, Moylan is fighting for a relief spot amongst a plethora of pitchers in camp.
The WBC begins on March 2nd with the final scheduled for March 19th. Players participating could miss three critical weeks of Spring Training with their prospective teams. Hanley Ramirez will still play for team Dominican Republic, Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz for Mexico, Nick Punto for Italy, and Ronald Belisario for Venezuela. Adrian Beltre has mild right calf inflammation which will cause him to miss the first round of the WBC. This means Hanley Ramirez will likely see more time in the field rather than being solely the DH for the Dominican.
Even though I see how players would like to represent their respective country in the WBC, missing valuable time in their Spring Training camp seems to be quite the sacrifice. This is especially true for those players battling for a spot, or players trying to show their new team they are committed, and in Hanley’s case those who just need extra work in the field. I think the three Dodgers who chose to withdraw from the WBC probably made the right decision especially Paco Rodriguez who is one of my favorites to make the Opening Day squad.