The World Baseball Classic got underway this morning with Israel beating Korea in the first game for the A Pool. The Dodgers are playing a big role in the WBC. They have 7 players competing against the world’s best.
Dodgers Stadium will be hosting the Championship Round on March 20-22nd. Dodgers Stadium is one of three MLB parks that will be used during the tournament. Petco Park and Marlins Park are the other two MLB stadiums.
The Dodgers will have 4 players on their active roster and 3 minor leaguers participating in the WBC. Headlining the list is first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Sergio Romo. Gonzalez will be leading team Mexico in Pool D starting out in Estadio Charros de Jalisco. Joining Gonzalez on team Mexico is Sergio Romo, Alex Verdugo and possibly Julio Urias.
There’s a lot of speculation about Urias joining team Mexico if they advance to the semi-finals. But when asked last week, Urias said he preferred to stay at Camelback Ranch with the Dodgers.
"“My first choice would be to be here with the Dodgers and see if there is an opportunity for me here,” Urias said. “I prefer to be with the Dodgers. But at the same time, I would enjoy being with the Mexican team.”"
Urias is competing for a starting spot in the rotation and being that he will be on an innings limit this season, I’m sure the Dodgers would prefer for him to stay in camp so they can keep a closer eye on him. There’s no doubt it would be a good experience for the young left-hander to pitch against the world’s best talent. Maybe if Mexico has a chance of winning the tournament the Dodgers give Urias the okay to participate. But for now, he’ll remain at Camelback.
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Adrian Gonzalez’s status has also been in question due to him nursing an elbow injury that has kept him from swinging the bat. But Gonzalez is the draw for team Mexico and his brother, Edgar, is managing the team. Gonzalez has participated in the last three WBC tournaments (2006, 2009, and 2013) he’s the leader of team Mexico and there’s no doubt that if he’s healthy he’ll be in the lineup for Mexico.
Dodgers utility player, Kiké Hernandez is on the roster for Puerto Rico. Rob Segedin is on Italy’s roster. Minor leaguers Drew Maggi (Italy) and Ike Davis (Israel) are also participating. Closer, Kenley Jansen is on the Netherlands’ designated pitcher pool, which means that pitchers are allowed to participate in the WBC without having to participate in all three rounds.
The WBC is a fun tournament that only comes around every four years. I know I’m excited to see baseball get going again. The WBC also lets me root for players I otherwise would be rooting against during the season like Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. The tournament is scheduled to play all the way up to MLB season opening day. You can see all the team’s rosters by visiting this link.