Four Seattle Mariners players will participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Competing are Mike Saunders, Luiz Gohara, Oliver Perez and Alex Liddi, but not Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez, who was originally selected to play on Team Venezuela, pulled out of the classic on Feb. 8. Hernandez’s focus is locking up his career with the Mariners. A few weeks ago, the Mariners agreed to a five-year extension with Hernandez. Manager of Team Venezuela Luis Sojo understands Felix’s decision.
Saunders will play for Canada, Gohara for Brazil, Perez for Mexico and Liddi for Italy. Gohara is playing in Pool A and Saunders, Liddi and Perez in Pool D.
Each of the four will play for different teams, but three of them are in the same pool, which means there will be some competition among them. Saunders and the rest of Team Canada’s first game is against Liddi and Team Italy on March 8. Liddi and Perez’s teams’ first game is against each other on March 7. Each of these games take place at Salt River Field at Talking Stick in Phoenix, Ariz.
Pool A player Gohara and the rest of Team Brazil’s first game is Saturday, March 2 vs. Team Japan. The location of the game is at the Japan Dome in Fukuoka, Japan.
A few days later, on March 9, Saunders and Perez’s teams play each other at Chase Field in Arizona.
“I feel real excited to represent my own country again,” Saunders said. In 2008, Saunders played for Canada in the Olympics. Due to shoulder surgery though, he missed the 2009 World Baseball Classic.