Monday, January 14, 2013
The Dodgers and the WBC
By Mark Saxon
Matt Kemp likely won't participate in the World Baseball Classic as he recovers from shoulder surgery. We can probably assume Clayton Kershaw won't be in because of a pesky hip injury from late last season.
But that doesn't mean the Dodgers won't be affected this spring by the return of the WBC. Dodgers players carry a lot of different passports and the team could lose a half-dozen players or more for a good chunk of the spring.
Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz have announced their plans to play on the Mexican team. No other Dodgers players have checked in to gauge the team's wishes, general manager Ned Colletti said.
There have been reports Hanley Ramirez would like to play for the Dominican Republic, but could he even get playing time in an infield that might include Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes and Adrian Beltre?
The Venezuelan newspaper Ultimas Noticias reported that reliever Ronald Belisario wants to pitch for his native country. Kenley Jansen was the starting catcher for the Dutch in 2009 and he could be a member of their bullpen in 2013. There will be immense pressure on new Hyun-jin Ryu to pitch for Korea. Zack Greinke, Andre Ethier and Brandon League could all be possibilities for Joe Torre's Team USA.
First-round play in the WBC begins March 2. Provisional rosters for all 16 nations will be announced Thursday. The finals don't begin until March 17, so the Dodgers could be training without a quarter of their roster for about half of spring training.
It's not exactly ideal for a team with immense turnover trying to build chemistry. Then again, it's hard to say no to your country, wherever that may be.