When the World Baseball Classic (WBC) opens on March 2, there will be three Rockies’ players suited up for Venezuela.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, 27, was no surprise when the rosters were announced in January. Even a disastrous season for the Rockies in 2012 didn’t stop Gonzalez from earning his first All-Star and Golden Glove honors.
On the other hand, catcher Ramon Hernandez, 36, was a bit of a surprise when the rosters were announced, as his age and injuries were factors of his limitation last season. Hernandez is the oldest player on the Venezuelan roster. So, even if Hernandez isn’t on the field for much of the games, his experience and leadership should help steer the Venezuelans in the right direction.
Pitcher Jhoulys Chacin will be the third Rockies’ player on the Venezuelan roster this year. The 25-year-old had concerns in the off-season on whether his arm would be ready for the WBC. “My arm is great, that’s the most important thing,” Chacin told MLB.com contributor Rafael Roias Cremonesi. Being cleared allows Chacin to make his dreams come true of competing for his home country.
“I’m extremely happy,” said Chacin. “I hope I can support my fellow countrymen in the best way possible. And I hope we will win the tournament, of course.”
Gonzalez expressed similar feelings about playing for his country. “It’s one of those situations we can’t say no,” Gonzalez told reporters.
Venezuela will begin Pool C play on Friday, March 1, where they face Chinese Taipei. All Pool C games will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Venezuela comes into the WBC ranked eighth in the International Baseball Federation world rankings.
— Mike Iulianello