With the World Baseball Classic ramping up operations early in 2023, the Los Angeles Angels have another player committed to representing their country in Patrick Sandoval.
He joins Mike Trout, who will serve as team captain for Team USA in the WBC after not playing in 2017, and Shohei Ohtani, who said he plans to play for Team Japan and contribute in any way he can.
Following a breakout season with the Angels in 2022, the 26-year-old Sandoval carried a 2.91 ERA over 27 starts. In 148.2 innings pitched, he surrendered a .246 batting average to opposing hitters and benefitted from working around traffic.
After four years in Major League Baseball, he felt ready to join Team Mexico and square off against talent from all over the world, via Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
#Angels LHP Patrick Sandoval will pitch for Team Mexico in the WBC, per manager Benji Gil (also the Angels 1B coach)
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) December 6, 2022
Angels manager Phil Nevin will have a number of players and staff taking part in the WBC, something the newly-inked skipper has nothing but support for.
“We were just talking about that. And I think we are right around 12 and a couple of coaches. I’m not worried about it at all.
“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. 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.
“And for these guys to have that opportunity to represent their countries in this atmosphere, go have at it. I would never step in their way, tell them to do anything different other than to go out and compete their ass off for their countries.
“It’s an awesome experience. I’m looking forward to coming home from work during the day and what we do in the mornings and watching baseball games at night and watching my guys get after it.
“I met the general manager for Team Japan last night. And I joked around. I said, you heard Shohei. I said, no, you let him play. I said you let him do what he wants. And there’s nobody I trust more with his body than Sho.
“All those guys, I’m looking forward to seeing them play and hearing their stories while they’re there and when they get back being part of our group.
“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 2023 WBC is set to begin on March 8, 2023, with Taiwan, Japan, and Phoenix, serving as the host sites during the initial pool play of the tournament. The games take place during Spring Training, so the Angels will be without part of their team during that time.
Angels stars Shohei Ohtani & Mike Trout named to 2022 All-MLB team
Ohtani narrowly missed out on a repeat Most Valuable Player Award, but he was named to the 2022 All-MLB Team on Monday, joining his teammate Mike Trout with the honor.
For the second straight year, Ohtani made the list as both a pitcher (First Team All-MLB) and as a hitter (Second Team All-MLB). He’s been an All-MLB Team selection four times in his career, which is tied with Los Angeles Dodgers first basemen Freddie Freeman, who has been selected in all four years of voting for this honor.
Trout was selected for the third time in the four seasons of voting, previously winning in 2019 and 2020.
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