It’s time to catch up on some World Baseball Classic news!
Lincoln Holdzkom passes away
First off, though, there is tragic news out of California, where New Zealander-American pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom has passed away after a car accident. Holdzkom, the brother of John Holdzkom of the Pirates organization, was expected to be the team captain for New Zealand in the WBC Qualifiers. Our thoughts are with him and his family and friends.
Mexico’s roster starts to take shape
Jon Morosi has an article on the Mexican National Team that has begun to take shape. Edgar Gonzalez will be the manager for Team Mexico in the WBC Qualifiers and presumably the main tournament as well if they qualify. His younger brother, Adrian Gonzalez, will be on the roster. The team could be pretty deep in pitching, Morosi writes:
Mexico’s preliminary roster will be especially deep in pitching, with Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, Miguel Gonzalez and Dodgers prospect Julio Urias among the notable arms certain to be included on it. Pitchers Jorge De La Rosa, Joakim Soria and Olivez Perez also are eligible to play for Mexico, as is Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, who is Mexican-American.
However, there are some problems that could trip up Mexico. For one thing, while MLB teams are very strongly encouraged to allow players to participate in the qualifiers, they are not required (unlike the main rounds of the WBC, where they are only allowed to officially block player participation if they are coming off an injury or there are too many players being picked from their roster). In addition, there is an ongoing feud between the Mexican League and Mexico’s national baseball federation that will make the participation of Mexican Leaguers iffy.
Edwin Rodriguez will begin recruiting for Team Puerto Rico
In a Spanish-language article on Elnuevodia.com, there is the news that Edwin Rodriguez will soon begin to recruit for Team Puerto Rico. While the article mentions how he will try to make an effort to get players of Puerto Rican descent (like Jake Arrieta) to take part, I personally think it’s more likely they’ll have to rely upon native-born Puerto Ricans like Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and the like. All of them are mentioned in the article. Puerto Rico came in a surprising second in the 2013 WBC.
- The Australian team- made up of many players that will likely make up the Australian team in WBC competition- beat the World Team in the Australian Baseball League All-Star Game.
- Trot Nixon is expected to be a coach on the Czech Republic team for their qualifier. I can’t think of any connection between Nixon and the Czechs, so presumably it’s just a case of getting somebody with baseball experience to help out.
- Eduardo Perez has turned down an offer to manage Spain in the qualifiers, citing time concerns and the fact he’d like to manage Venezuela (although others are likely ahead of him on the list).
- The Dominican Republic is bidding to host a round of the WBC.
So, until next time, this has been a WBC update!