As we near the World Baseball Classic, I’ll be collecting news and notes about it. Due to length, it starts after the jump.
Team Japan will be reporting for camp tomorrow. Workouts start Friday.
Dusty Baker is now on record as not wanting Johnny Cueto to pitch for the Dominican Republic, although Cueto wants to. This continues the trend where most teams are fine with position players going to the WBC, but aren’t fine with pitchers. It will likely be up to Cueto, although the fact he strained an oblique in the playoffs last year could provide the Reds a way to block his participation.
Continuing the pitcher paranoia, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has strongly hinted that he will veto Johan Santana’s participation in the WBC for Team Venezuela. Given that Santana missed a ton of time last year with an injury, the Mets are able to just outright say no, as opposed to what happens with other players who were not hurt, where teams can pressure or state their opinion but can’t outright ban them. While Alderson has not yet officially ended Santana’s hope for pitching for Venezuela (and he, by all accounts, really wants to pitch), it probably is only a matter of time.
One final pitching note: Bruce Chen won’t be playing for Team China, as the delays that were resulting from trying to provide enough documentation to show he met the eligibility rules were going on too long, so he’s shifted into his regular Spring Training mode.
Speaking of which, the Chinese team lost an exhibition 6-1 against the KBO’s NC Dinos in Arizona. They will be playing again later today, I believe.
The Dutch National Team, which has begun training (the affiliated players will join later), defeated the team from Gateway Community College yesterday, 6-1. Danny Rombley had a 2-run homer in the victory.
Okay, by now you all have probably heard that Justin Verlander, wary after throwing so many pitches deep into the playoffs last season, has decided not to pitch in the WBC, but Team USA can rest easy in knowing that it’s likely that Ryan Braun or Gio Gonzalez will still be playing in the WBC, despite the Biogenesis controversy.
(Don’t forget that Joe Connor’s WBC Guide is available for sale!)