Archive for November, 2005

Vazquez wants to play for Puerto Rico

Image hosted by Photobucket.comArizona Diamondbacks pitcher Javier Vazquez, who wants to be traded to east cost, plans to play for Puerto Rico in inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.

“What I said to Arizona is that I would like to be on a team that’s on the East Coast and, if possible, on a winning ball club,” Vazquez said. If he can’t find the right team, “then I will play again for Arizona.”

Under baseball’s labor contract, Vazquez has the right to designate six teams he cannot be traded to.

Puerto Rico, Panama, Netherlands and Cuba are scheduled to play in Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Puerto Rico in the first round. Top two teams will advanced to second round.

Javier Vazquez seeks trade closer to family
D-Backs’ Vazquez demands to be traded

USA, Canada play exhibition game

Before World Baseball Classic start, USA and Canada will play exhibition game with San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays in early March.

Most national teams will play at one or two exhibition games before the tournament. United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa are in the Pool B in the first round at Phoenix Area.

The U.S. team will play an exhibition game against San Francisco Giants’ split squad on March 5 at renovated Scottsdale Stadium, which is also the venue of three games for Pool B. Giants will have 32 exhibition games next spring.

Canada Team will play against Toronto split squad on March 3 at Dunedin, Florida, the Blue Jays’ spring facility, and then move to Arizona for World Baseball Classic. Blue Jays will have 33 exhibition games next spring.

Giants release 2006 Spring slate
U.S., Canada in World Baseball Classic exhibitions
Giants release spring schedule
Unable to secure stadium, Marlins will try to relocate
Blue Jays to play pre-season game against Canada in spring training

Johjima to Mariners, won’t play WBC

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usJapanese Catcher Kenji Johjima, who signed with Seattle Mariners for three-year $16.5 million, might say no to World Baseball Classic.

As one of the best catcher in Japan, who is also the starting catcher in 2004 Athens Olympics for Japan, Johjima join Mariners might means he will not participate in World Baseball Classic next spring.

Original Johjima should be on the Japanese team, he is very close to Sadaharu Oh, who manage Johjima when he played in Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and also the manager of Japan Team. But inaugural World Baseball Classic is played during spring training, which means Jojima need to make a choice.

“We’ve discussed it. And we will cross that bridge when we come to it,” Mariners GM Bill Bavasi said.

During the press conference, when asked about “what you are going to do about the World Baseball Classic?” Jojima said “I have had an offer. But the time of the tournament is when I need to get to know the team and when the team needs to get to know me. Mr. Oh said that, “Spring Camp is important, so use it for you”. I don’t think I will attend [the WBC].”

Q & A session with Kenji Johjima
Jojima joining Ichiro
Mariners catch a rising star in Johjima
M’s plate Johjima

Santana wants to play

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMinnesota Twins Ace, former Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana excited about Venezuela in inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.

”I’ll be there. Venezuela has a great opportunity because of the quality of its baseball players at the moment,” the left-hander said.

New York Yankees coach Luis Sojo has been chosen to manage the Venezuelan team, which is considered among the top teams for the tournament in March. The lineup will be bolstered by Miguel Cabrera of the Florida Marlins and Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies and other big stars.

Venezuela will be playing first round in Cracker Jack Stadium at Disney Wide World of Sports, Florida in Pool D, which includes Australia, Italy and the Dominican Republic.

Venezuela in World Baseball Classic
People in Sports: Santana excited for World Baseball Classic
The people have spoken

Ernie Whitt lead Canada

Ernie Whitt, manager of the Canadian Olympic baseball team, will also manage Canada in the World Baseball Classic next spring.

The Toronto Blue Jays bench coach, just lead Canada advanced to 2008 Beijing Olympics Qualify Game next August. Some of the players from the Olympic team might get a chance to play in the Classic too, like infielder Stubby Clapp, outfielder Ryan Radmanovich, pitchers Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson.

The only difference between Olympic team and World Baseball Classic team is Major League players. Olympic team does not allow major-league players, but the Classic does.

“Any conversations that we’ve had with players, they’ve all been very positive where they do want to go and play and compete,” Whitt said. “It’s a lot of organizing, especially with the pitching and hopefully getting them ready so that they are ready to compete in early spring.

“We’re going to have to treat these games basically as spring training games where our starters will limit to a pitch count or innings. So our starting pitchers will probably be piggybacked with another starting pitcher to try to get us to the seventh inning and then our bullpen guys will take over after that.”

“Usually, a week in spring training and they’re okay,” Whitt said. “It’s just a timing thing. The first week is conditioning the hands. In most cases, these guys that come to spring training now, they’re all in pretty good shape; they’ve been swinging the bats. Our biggest concern will be our pitching.”

Witt expects to carry 13 or 14 pitchers for the WBC and “hopefully we don’t play extra innings.”

The 16-team tournament will be played from March 3 to 20; Canada with Mexico, South Africa, and USA will play the first round at Chase Field and Scottsdale Stadium.

Whitt guides Canada to Games qualifier

Lefebvre lead China

Image hosted by Photobucket.comJim Lefebvre, who manages the China Star at the first Konami Cup Asia Series, will be the manager of Chinese Team in World Baseball Classic and beyond.

Lefebvre, 63, former Lotte Orions player and coach, and Major League manager with the Mariners, Cubs and Brewers, said he originally took the job as the Chinese team field boss in 2002, making a three-month commitment, “just to get things started.” Three years later, he’s still at the helm and is looking forward to working with the team till possible 2008.

Konami cup held on Nov. 10-13 at Tokyo Dome in Japan, and China lost all three games, 0-6 to Taiwan, 3-8 to Samsung (Korea) and 1-3 to Lotte (Japan).

Lefebvre assisted with pitching coach Bruce Hurst, let China become more competitive, the China Stars played solid baseball, offensively and defensively. Although they did not expect to advance through second round at World Baseball Classic, their main goal is 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

Inaugural Konami Cup a great way to end the 2005 season

Jeter needs Boss’ permission

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAlthough George Steinbrenner did not have right to decide who can go or not, but Derek Jeter, the New Yankees Shortstop, wants Boss’ permission.

When Jeter was asked a question about whether he wanted to participate in the World Baseball Classic next spring. He did not answer, but said “I’ve got to ask The Boss. It’s up to The Boss. They may say it’s not up to him, but it’s up to The Boss.”

Original the decision is up to the players, not their teams or principal owner, but Jeter doubted that was really true. And most Yankees players might have echoed Jeter’s sentiments.

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Rivera Isn’t Worried About Setup Man
Seeking Flash back

All ballparks set

Final venues of World Baseball Classic 2006 were settled, Cracker Jack Stadium at Disney Wide World of Sports in Orlando will be the ballpark of six first-round games of Pool D.

The other first-round pools are scheduled to play at Tokyo Dome, Hiram Bithorn Stadium, and Chase Field and Scottsdale Stadium. The second round will play at Hiram Bithorn Stadium and Angel Stadium in Anaheim, with the semifinals and finals at San Diego’s PETCO Park from March 18-20.

“The Orlando area is one of the nation’s top international tourist destinations, and we are very pleased that the World Baseball Classic will be a part of that landscape,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Baseball historically has been a major attraction in Florida each spring, and we are confident that Disney’s Wide World of Sports will serve as an excellent host for the World Baseball Classic.”

“Our agreement with Disney to host the opening east coast round of the World Baseball Classic is another important step towards making these inaugural games the success we envision,” said Don Fehr, the union’s head. “It’s a great venue, which has played host to a number of world class events, and I know the fans, as well as the teams playing in the Disney round, will have a great experience.”

Pool D includes the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Australia and Italy. The top two teams will meet the two winners from Pool C, which include Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama and Netherlands in the second round at San Juan.

Cracker Jack Stadium, with a capacity of 9500, was opened in 1998, is the spring home of the Atlanta Braves.

Orlando to host WBC first round
Disney will host portion of Classic

Liván Hernández could play for Puerto Rico

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIf he wants, Liván Hernández would be eligible to play for Puerto Rico in inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.

Based on Major League Baseball official, the Cuban pitcher and Washington Nationals ace, who has expressed interest in playing for Puerto Rico, telling local media in October “it would be a pleasure and something very important to me” to represent the U.S. Caribbean territory.

Mike Teevan, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said the rules allow Hernandez to request permission to play for a team other than his native Cuba. “If he wants to pitch for a country other than Cuba, he’ll have to make request explaining why he wants to pitch for another team and not his country of origin.”

“I would represent Puerto Rico with much pleasure,” Hernandez said. Playing for Puerto Rico would “be a dream … because it’s a (place) where I live and feel a part of.” He said there would be no conflict if he faced Cuba. “I’m going to pitch against whoever I have to,” he said. “I’m going to try to win and give 100 per cent.”

Puerto Rico will play in Group C with Cuba, Panama and Netherlands in the first round, scheduled for San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Cuba hasn’t said if it will participate in the World Baseball Classic.

Hernandez defected from Cuba in 1995, is 15-10, 3.98 ERA in 35 starts last season, has a house in Puerto Rico and owns a local professional women’s volleyball team.

If Hernandez played for Puerto Rico, he would be great advantage for a team who short on strong pitching but has powerful lineup like Carlos Delgado, Ivan Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.

Hernandez eligible to play for Puerto Rico?
Liván Hernández would play for Puerto Rico
Livan Hernandez can pitch for Puerto Rico in Classic
Hernandez wants to play for Puerto Rico

Acta lead Dominican Republic

Manny Acta , third-base coach of New York Mets, was selected to be the manager of Dominican Republic’s team for inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.

“I feel grateful and happy that the Mets … are giving me the opportunity to manage for my country,” Acta said. Acta also said he will soon meet with Dominican general manager Stan Javier to discuss the tournament.

The 16-nation, 18-day World Baseball Classic will start on March 3, and Dominican Republic will compete in Group D with Venezuela, Australia and Italy.

Acta to manage Dominican Republic in World Baseball Classic
Mets 3B coach Acta to manage DR in Baseball Classic

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