MLB players will be putting on a much different jersey as the round robin stage of the World Baseball classic kicks off Friday. While the annual classic begins first in Japan and Taiwan this weekend, Yankee players are preparing themselves for games later on in the week.
Among these players are Second Baseman Robinson Cano, (Dominican Republic), First Baseman Mark Teixeira, (United States) and Catcher Fransisco Cervelli (Italy).
The Dominican Republic will open up play next Thursday against Venezuela. Cano, will be playing alongside notable stars such as Nelson Cruz, Hanley Rameriez, and former Yankee teammate Melky Cabrera. The reunion of the two comes after Cabrera left New York to become a Giant in the 2012 season. Cabrera is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
In a combination of young and veteran talent, the United States WBC roster is stacked with big name players. The spotlight though will shine brightest on NYY First Baseman Mark Teixeira, coming off his worst batting totals in 10 years. A good performance at the classic would be a significant reputation boost for the slugger. The United States first game is scheduled for Friday March 8, against Mexico.
Playing for a team with relatively no Major League players, NYY catcher Fransisco Cervelli will be looked upon to lead a young Italian squad. With rumors surrounding performance enhancing drugs hovering around Cervelli this off season, the projected starting catcher for the Yankees could only benefit from a well played Classic. Cervelli will be meeting up with teammate Mark Teixeira on Saturday March 9, as Italy takes on the United States in Phoenix, Arizona.