Florida Marlins first baseman Carlos Delgado and starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis became the first two players to signing a letter of intent to play the inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.
Since the 1995 Caribbean Series, this is the first time Delgado join Puerto Rico’s team. “It will be an honor for me to represent my country. I feel extremely proud, especially since I’ve never had the opportunity to represent Puerto Rico in a world event of this magnitude,” Delgado said.
Dontrelle Willis will join Team USA, said the injury risks are the same whether he’s competing in a spring training game or pitching in the WBC. “I’m not saying don’t worry about it, but it’s one or the other,” Willis said. “You just have to suck it up and represent your country. We’re all investments, whether we make $1 million or $10 million, so I understand (teams’) concerns.”
“I think it’s a very interesting event,” Marlins General Manager Larry Beinfest said. “I look forward to it. I think it will be fun.”
Commissioner Bud Selig said all 30 teams were on board. “None of us today can understand how big the World Classic is going to be and what it will do for this sport internationally,” he said.
The deadline for the 16 invited countries to submit rosters is Jan. 17th.