Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

Several Mariners to play in WBC

No matter which position they are, Seattle Mariners has lots of players who want to join the World Baseball Classic next March.

Include Starter Felix Hernandez, who was asked not to participate for Venezuela in 2006, is likely to want to pitch for his country. So does third baseman Adrian Beltre is likely to be on the roster for the Dominican Republic, as he was three years ago. Second baseman Jose Lopez could also play for Team Venezuela.

As for Catcher Kenji Johjima, who elected to work out with the Mariners in 2006, his first spring, rather than play for Japan, is likely to want to play for his country this time around.

The other possibility include Lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith would be a candidate for Team Australia. And outfielder Wladimir Balentien could be included on the roster of The Netherlands because his home of Curacao is part of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean.

Due to Team rosters won’t be settled on in a couple of months, so other players could also be involved, it could be more interested to see player face their teammates during WBC.

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.

Vizquel and Vazquez preparing for 2009 WBC

Even there are still more than year away, some players are already talk about 2009 World Baseball Classic, include Omar Vizquel of Venezuela and Javier Vazquez for Puerto Rico.

Shortstop Omar Vizquel, who currently in spring traing site of San Francisco Giants, said he would consider a return to the second World Baseball Classic next spring. He wants to manage someday but said Luis Sojo should get the gig for Venezuela after doing such a good job last time.

As for pitcher Javier Vazquez, he said he will pitch in the 2009 World Baseball Classic if he’s selected to play for his native Puerto Rico.

Vazquez said he would change his routine. He had a 2.25 ERA in two starts for Puerto Rico in the 2006 Classic but struggled with a 4.84 ERA and an 11-12 record in his first year with the Sox.

“I might start [training] even a little earlier than last time,” Vazquez said. ” I might throw a few more batting practices in Puerto Rico than I did last time. I want to be more ready than the year before because the last time I started earlier. But just thinking about it, I could have started even earlier.”

First eight teams of 2009 WBC decide

Yes, there will be another World Baseball Classic.

In 2009.

A joint steering committee overseeing the tournament made official on April 20th. what long has been presumed: that the second international baseball competition to include Major League players will be staged in March 2009, with dates and venues yet to be determined.

Additionally, all eight teams that advance to the second round in first World Baseball Classic — the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela — will receive the first invitations. The remaining eight will be determined and unveiled by the seven steering committee members in December 2007, but it will be a tough decision, for there are many countries interested in participating.

“We are extremely pleased with the impressive results of the 2006 World Baseball Classic and excited about the momentum and anticipation it has generated for the upcoming 2009 event,” said Bob DuPuy, MLB’s president and chief operating officer. “As international baseball continues to develop and thrive, and the supply of quality baseball nations grows, the task of selecting the 16 deserving teams has become increasingly difficult,” DuPuy said.

The eight countries that were eliminated in the inaugural first round were China, Chinese Taipei, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Panama, Italy and The Netherlands. There has been a desire from other baseball-playing countries to be included in the 16-team field, and some that so far don’t play the game. Israel, for example, is starting its first professional baseball league this summer and is seeking a berth in the next Classic.

“Numerous countries, far more than we currently can invite, are clamoring to get in,” said Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the MLB players association and its representative to the steering committee. “Given the limitations on the size of the field that we face at this date, we want to make sure that the widespread interest in participation gets the attention it deserves.”

The first tournament was such a rousing success that the steering committee announced a dispersal of $8 million to the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), plus the baseball federations of the 16 nations and commonwealths that participated based on their finish in the tournament. The federations are expected to distribute a minimum of $3.3 million to their local baseball programs. And in addition, the IBAF will receive $1 million to continue developing the game globally.

Attendance at the seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold, the semifinals and finals were sold out at PETCO Park, undoubtedly a front runner to host the Classic’s climax again in 2009. The steering committee said it would begin taking bids for venues immediately.

Last time, the games were also hosted in San Juan, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Ariz., Anaheim and Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Japan won the initial tournament from March 3-20, 2006 with a squad featuring just two major league players by defeating Cuba 10-6 at San Diego’s PETCO Park, while Communist Cuba made it to the final with the latest generation of their amateur dynasty.

Many US major leaguers shunned the Classic in favor of pre-season workouts with club teams in advance of the April opening of the US season. Some had suggested moving the event to November, after the major league World Series, but major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig had voiced doubts about a change.

Thursday’s meeting in New York was the second for the steering committee, which is made up of officials from Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball, the IBAF, and representatives for the MLB and NPB players associations.


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