Canada hunt for talent

To prepare the World Baseball Classic next March, Canada full tilt to find as much talent as they can to organize Nation Team.

Chris Woodward, utility man of Toronto Blue Jays, whose wife is a Toronto native and is trying to become a Canadian for WBC2006. He can play all four infield positions plus the outfield and bats right-handed with some pop, which Canada needs.

Mark Teahen, left-handed third baseman of Kansas City Royals, obtained Canadian citizenship in 2004 through his father, Mike, who was born in St. Marys, Ont. and played for the national team, is eligible to play.

Jesse Crain, reliever of Minnesota Twins reliever, was born in Toronto but moved back to USA when he was three months old. He previously pitched for the United States during 2004 Athens Olympics Qualifying Games, but he decided to switch to play for Canada and has received a preliminary OK from USA Baseball, will be an asset for the bullpen.

Rosters recently increased from 27 to 30, with a minimum of 13 pitchers and three catchers, and Team officials are looking over the eligibility rules and Canada’s immigration laws, try to build the best team with five months to go.

World Baseball Classic organizers recently sent a memo to every team clarifying those eligibility rules. In order to participate, a player must have been either born in a country, hold citizenship there, be a permanent legal resident, have a parent who is a citizen or hold some other ancestral ties to the land (such as a grandparent).

Baseball Canada are also in the process of requesting permission to use big named players like Jason Bay, Larry Walker, Justin Morneau and Rich Harden.

Teams aren’t likely to be officially announced until December or January at the earliest. Canada is tentatively scheduled to open its training camp at Toronto Blue Jays’ facilities in Dunedin, Florida on March 3, giving players a chance to spend about a week and a half at their teams’ spring training camp.

Canada leaving no stone unturned in hunt for World Baseball Classic talent

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