The World Baseball Classic Returns


Spread the love

After a six-year hiatus, the World Baseball Classic is back! One of the most exciting baseball tournaments in the world, featuring 20 teams from all over the globe.

The Classic kicks off tonight and will be played for two weeks, with the championship game on March 21. Padres fans looking for a change of scenery from spring training will see some familiar faces.

Manny Machado and Juan Soto lead a stacked Dominican Republic team looking to win their second WBC title (2013), crafted together by the team’s General Manager and designated hitter, Nelson Cruz, the newest member of the San Diego Padres. Cruz, 42, is excited about the leadership opportunity.

“I understand that there will be a lot of talk about the fact an active player serves as general manager for the first time in the history of the World Baseball Classic,” Cruz said. “I’d like to inform you that I’m ready for that. I’m a man who likes challenges. I’m honored to accept the appointment, considering what the World Baseball Classic means to the Dominican people.”

This will be Cruz’s fourth time participating in the World Baseball Classic after having played for Dominican Republic’s 2009, 2013, and 2017 teams.

Machado, Soto, and Cruz are joined by reliever Luis Garcia who is also pitching for the Dominican Republic. They will face Venezuela on Saturday, March 11, at 4 p.m. (PST).

Aside from the Dominican Republic and the United States, Japan presents a roster as formidable as any. A rotation with Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish, who was extended by the Padres, will keep hitters guessing.

Darvish led Japan to their second consecutive WBC title back in 2009 with a 2-1 record, a 2.08 ERA, and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings. In addition, he closed out the championship game against South Korea. Japan faces China this Thursday, March 9, at 2 a.m.

The Padres major 2022-23 offseason acquisition, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, headlines Team Netherlands. This will be his third time playing in the WBC after participating in both 2013 and 2017.

Before leaving for the tournament, Bogaerts was asked about how being away from his new club during spring training for a few weeks might affect his settling in with all his new Padres teammates.

“I don’t think it’ll do any harm. It’s just going out there and playing for my country and playing in some, I would say, more competitive games. Not saying that these (spring training games) aren’t, but I get to play a little bit more innings over there with the Netherlands squad,” Bogaerts said.

Bogaerts is joined by Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen and three sets of brothers: Sharlon and Jonathan Schoop, Josh and Richie Palacios, and Juremi and former Padre Jurickson Profar.

Profar, the last remaining member of MLBTR’s top 50 free agents, will be showcasing his talents as he looks for a new team for the upcoming 2023 season.

The USA will look to defend its 2017 title and will feature Nick Martinez in its rotation. Martinez, who played on the 2017 team, originally dropped out of the Classic due to his role on the Padres.

Eventually, a spot opened up, and Martinez is back in tournament, pitching for the United States as a starter.

“It’s incredibly special for me to wear this uniform,” Martinez said. “With my family coming from Cuba, coming over here looking for opportunity … it’s incredibly humbling, and it’s a great honor.”

The United States plays Great Britain on Saturday, March 11, at 6 p.m.

Team Colombia’s pitching staff will be led by Nabil Crismatt and Julio Teheran, who both pitched in 2017. According to Padres’ Manager Bob Melvin, Crismatt is expected to start for in his team’s opener on Saturday, March 11.

I'd like this amount to  

Ha-Seong Kim returns for Team Korea in his second World Baseball Classic (2017). He, along with Cardinals’ infielder Tommy Edman lead one of, if not the most formidable defenses in the entire tournament. Korea faces Australia tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Several minor leaguers will also be found on WBC rosters, including Brett Sullivan (catcher) for Team Italy, Jarryd Dale (INF) for Team Australia, Evan Mendoza (INF) and Ruben Galindo (P) for Team Columbia, Jake Sanchez (P) for Team Mexico, Miguel Cienfuegos (P) for Team Panama, and José Espada (P) for Team Puerto Rico.

The Classic is available to watch on FOX, FS1, FS2, Tubi, or FOX Deportes. Every game can also be streamed online in the FOX Sports App.

It all starts Tuesday night as Bogaerts and Team Netherlands face Luis Robert and Team Cuba in Taiwan at 8 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *