To prepare for World Baseball Classic, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, who had previously said he would sit out this winter season, already started to bat for one team of his native Dominican Republic.
“I don’t want to hang around doing nothing at home,” Tejada said, before his debut as a designated hitter with the Aguilas Cibaenas. “I’m going to start playing today to get myself in shape.”
Tejada, 29, signed a $72 million, six-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles before the 2004 season. He hit .304 with 26 home runs and 98 RBIs this season.
Tejada hit 3-1 and drove in two runs Thursday, but Cibaenas lost 7-5 to the Leones del Escogido.
The Dominican World Baseball Classic team will be loaded with talented sluggers, including Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.
“I have to (play) not only for me but for my family,” said Tejada, who was born in Bani, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santo Domingo.
In the mean time, Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Pitcher Oliver Perez, who also plan to pitch for his native country Mexico in World Baseball Classic, is also active in Winter League.
He said he does not expect to attend the Pirates’ voluntary minicamp during Jan. 10-15 in Bradenton, Florida, because it collides with Mexican playoffs.