Nations announced their preliminary rosters for the World Baseball Classic which is to be held this year before the start of the Major League Baseball season.
Six players on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster were chosen to play in the World Baseball Classic. Adrian Gonzalez and Luis “Cochito” Cruz will represent Mexico; Hanley Ramirez is slated to play third base for the Dominican Republican; Ronald Belisario will represent his home country of Venezuela; Nick Punto will represent Italy; and relief pitcher Paco Rodriguez will pitch out of Spain’s bullpen.
This will be the third appearance for both Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, who have each played in the first two World Baseball Classic tournaments in 2006 and 2009. It will be the second appearance for Luis Cruz who was on the 2006 roster and Nick Punto who appeared on the 2009 roster.
As with every WBC, the Dodgers will have the normal concerns of so many players leaving spring training early to join their respective national teams.
However, it could have been worse for the Dodgers. Superstars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are not on Team USA because they are nursing injuries; Kenley Jansen, who was the catcher for the Netherlands national team in 2006 won’t be participating this year after undergoing a heart procedure in 2012. Newly acquired pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, who represented the silver medal South Korean team in the 2009 Classic will also be skipping this years tournament to get completely acclimated to pitching for his new team in a new country.
Dodgers minor league infielder Felipe Burin will also represent his native Panama.
Fernando Valenzuela will return as pitching coach for Team Mexico.
The Dodgers play Team Mexico in an exhibition game on March 2 in Glendale, Arizona. Their teammates Cruz and Gonzalez will be suited up for Mexico.