51-year-old Ken Griffey Sr., who’s the special consultant of Cincinnati Reds, will be the first base coach of Team USA.
After 19-year major league career, Griffey was the Reds’ first base coach in 2000; he also coached with the Seattle Mariners several years before returning to Cincinnati, where he got his start as a player.
The U.S. team will train in Phoenix from March 3-6 and play the first round games with Canada, Mexico and South Africa at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field (formerly known as Bank One Ballpark) and Scottsdale Stadium, spring home of the San Francisco Giants.
Buck Martinez, a former Toronto Blue Jays manager, will serve as U.S. manager with Davey Johnson as bench coach, Reggie Smith as hitting coach and Marcel Lachemann as pitching coach.
If the U.S. team advances all the way through, it will play second round in Anaheim Stadium and the semifinals and finals at PETCO Park in San Diego.
As for his son, Ken Griffey Jr. hasn’t made a commitment to play since he wants to be sure he’s fully recovered from surgeries on his knee and hamstring in September.
45-year-old John Franco, former New York Mets left-handed pitcher, will be the pitching coach for the Italian team. Former Mets coach Matt Galante will manage, and Mike Piazza has already agreed to catch for the Italy.
Larry Walker, 39, was outfielder for the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals, retired in October, Canada Manager Ernie Whitt want him as a bench coach.
Walker has a herniated disc in his neck and is trying to let it heal without surgery, meaning he cannot swing a bat. But he has said he would like to do something for the Canadian team.
“He’ll be a part of the team, if I have anything to say about it,” said Whitt, the Toronto Blue Jays bench coach and Canada manager for the WBC. “I think he deserves that right.” “He can stand right next to me,” Whitt said. “I’d love to have him around. I’d love to have him as a player.” Whitt said he would like to have Walker, “even as a DH.” “If he doesn’t want to do that then he’d have strong consideration as a bench coach,” Whitt said.
The Canadian team will train at the Blue Jays’ spring training home in Dunedin, Florida in early March before play the first round at March 7 in Arizona.
Because it is spring training and pitchers will has pitch count limits, Whitt said he plans to use two starters each game and hope they can combine for about six innings. “We’ll have 13 to 14 pitchers and six of them will be starters,” Whitt said.