The MLB player commitment to the World Baseball Classic has been nothing short of incredible, and the Los Angeles Angels are expected to see many of their players representing their country during the tournament.
Mike Trout was chosen as the captain for the United States by USA general manager Tony Reagins, while Shohei Ohtani will be used as a two-way player in the WBC for Team Japan. Hideki Kuriyama, Team Japan’s manager, is still unsure if they’ll have him serve as a starting pitcher, or as a closer, which Ohtani previously mentioned as a possibility.
In addition to the two superstars, David Fletcher and Max Stassi will play for Team Italy, while relievers Jaime Barria and Zack Weiss will represent Team Panama and Team Israel, respectively, according to Jeff Fletcher of MLB.com:
But they’re not the only ones, as infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi have committed to play for Team Italy, left-hander Patrick Sandoval is on Team Mexico’s preliminary 50-player interest list, right-hander Jaime Barría is on Team Panama’s and reliever Zack Weiss is on Team Israel’s.
Patrick Sandoval previously announced his intention to pitch for Team Mexico during the 2023 WBC, a huge step for the young left-hander who is making large strides in his career.
Angels manager Phil Nevin will be without multiple coaches to go along with his players, something he believes is a fantastic opportunity.
“What I’ve told those guys, what I’ve told some other interview, had some other interviews here, couldn’t be more happy for those guys,” Nevin said. “One of the highlights of my career was in college getting to play in the Olympics in Barcelona, wearing U.S.A. across my chest.”
For Nevin’s players, this is a chance to showcase their ability against the best talent from around the world.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of these guys, and looking forward to them having those experiences and coming back and sharing with us,” the skipper said.
Fletcher missed a lot of the 2022 season with various injuries but has been focused on adding strength to help him stay healthy.
Luis Rengifo to participate in WBC, unsure of team
Angels infielder Luis Rengifo will also play in the tournament, but is waiting to hear if it will be for Team Venezuela or Team Colombia. Rengifo was born in Venezuela but has Panamanian heritage, thus making him eligible to play for both countries.
It appears playing for Team Venezuela would be Rengifo’s his first choice, but that will only be possible if there is enough room on their roster. Teams don’t have to finalize their roster until later this winter.
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