After four more years of waiting, numerous countries are ready to clash in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Eight players within the Kansas City Royals organization will participate in the classic.
The Dominican Republic team selected right-handed pitcher Kelvin Herrera and right-handed infielder Miguel Tejada to play for the team in this World Baseball Classic.
Puerto Rico selected Royals’ second baseman Irvin Falu; Venezuela selected the right-handed catcher Salvador Perez, who signed a multi-year contract last spring with the Royals; and Mexico selected right-handed pitcher, Luis Mendoza,who will be getting his first chance to pitch for the country.
The native Panamanian Bruce Chen surprised everyone by deciding not to play with the China squad. The left-handed pitcher played for Panama in the first two World Baseball Classics. “I wanted to [play for China] but I didn’t want to push for something that might not happen,” Chen said on MLB.com.
Among the numerous players, Team USA selected right-handed pitcher Timothy Collins. “I’m excited. You don’t get many opportunities to play with a group of guys like that, besides the All-Star Game. To me, this is similar to an All-Star Game, so I feel to play with those guys at the same time on the same field is really an honor,” Collins said on MLB.com.
Minor League pitcher J.C. Sulbaran, a right-hander who pitched for the Netherlands in the 2009 classic, will be on the team roster this year; minor League outfielder, Paulo Orlando, is on the Brazil team.
Even though many players will not be present at the spring training camp activities, the players are still confident that the team would not be affected by their other teammates’ absence and believe that the team would be fully prepared for the up-coming season.
“Nah, we’ve got a lot of time before I leave. And when I come back, we’ll have 14 or 15 more games. We’ll have plenty of time,” said Perez in an interview with MLB.com.
Royals manager Ned Yost also supports his players for representing their countries. “It is what it is. We’ve got several guys going. They enjoy it. They go do it, and then come back. It means a lot to them to play for their country,” said Yost, according to Kansascity.com.