Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has told the Israeli website Walla (walla.co.il) that he would consider playing for the Israeli national team when it attempts to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The WBC is expanding from 16 teams to 28 and Israel is among the countries that has been invited to participate in a new 16-team qualifying round in 2012 along with the likes of Brazil, Great Britain and Thailand.
According to WBC eligibility rules, several major leaguers are allowed to represent Israel, including Boston’s Kevin Youkilis, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman along with Kinsler.
Interviewed recently in Houston, Kinsler told Walla that he would “love to play for the Israeli national team” if a Team USA invite never materializes for the two-time All-Star.
WBC rules allow countries to field players who are eligible for citizenship, even if they are not citizens. Chaim Katz, president of the Israel Baseball Association, said earlier this month that he will try to recruit pros, since Israel has a mere 2,000 adults and youths playing baseball in the country itself despite the introduction of a short-lived professional league in Israel in 2007.
“The plan is to get the best team of all eligible athletes on the field,” Katz said.
In a statement issued by Katz’s association, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said that Israel’s participation would be a “wonderful addition” to the tournament.