Fukudome, Blanco and Zambrano want to play

Some Cubbies want to join the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

That’s include Kosuke Fukudome, about to begin the first year of his four-year contract with the team, although it means that he could be late getting to Spring Training next year, due to first round of games will begin March 5 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

“I’d be honored if selected,” Fukudome said through interpreter Ryuji Araki.

This would not be Fukudome’s first international competition. He was the center fielder on the gold-medal winning Japanese team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and was a member of the Japanese Olympic Baseball team that won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. He also helped the Japanese team win the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics.

So does catcher Henry Blanco, who said he’d be honored to play for the Venezuelan team, if invited.

“It was a good experience, and I’d definitely do it again,” Blanco said. “Now we know what it’s all about and we’d have time to prepare. You can see in a couple guys who didn’t play winter ball, they didn’t have good timing. I think Carlos Zambrano was practicing and throwing early, and it didn’t make any difference for him.”

And Zambrano, who was more than willing to pitch for his country.

“Sure, why not?” the Cubs Opening Day starter said.

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