Although some players did withdraw World Baseball Classic, but Al Leiter and Carlos Zambrano still want to join this March.
Leiter, 40-year-old left-hand pitcher who just signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees, is on the 60-man preliminary American roster. He thinks there may be an opening for middle relievers because starting pitchers are likely to be forced out of games by pitch limits.
“I am really intrigued and excited about this whole World Cup thing,” he said. “There’s a very small possibility that potentially I could make it. I’m going to be a guy that’s going to have to wait until the very end.”
“This could be really exciting,” Leiter said. “Maybe before I die it ends up being a rival to the soccer World Cup.”
For Zambrano, 24, he is also eager to pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, and that may help him get off to a good start.
In the second half, Zambrano admitted he felt better facing opponents because he knew them better, and his record showed that. He was 6-4 with a 3.85 ERA before the break, and 8-2 with a 2.65 ERA after, although Chicago Cubs are not as enthusiastic about watching their ace in competitive games so early in the season.
Final rosters won’t be announced until early March, and the USA open March 7 against Mexico, Venezuela open against Dominican Republic on the same day.