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miércoles, 29 de marzo de 2023

Baseball News





News & Notes for March 21, 2023


About the World Baseball Classic

Globe’s Got Game: The fifth installment of the biggest international baseball tournament in the world brings many of the best players on the planet together to compete for their home countries and territories. Japan won the first two versions of the tournament, taking home trophies in 2006 and 2009. In 2013, a dominant Dominican Republic squad did not lose a game, going 8-0, in winning the title. Then, in 2017, the United States won it all. Almost 3.3 million fans from all over the world attended WBC games over the first four installments. This one-of-a-kind tournament was created to serve as a platform for increasing baseball’s worldwide exposure, attracting new fans and players to the universal game of baseball.


Since its debut, the World Baseball Classic has shown continued growth across the international stage, showcasing 16 different countries and territories in both 2006 and 2009. In 2013, a new Qualifier round was introduced. A total of 12 new countries were invited to participate in the Fall 2012 event along with four teams from the 2009 tournament that were required to re-qualify for the 2013 Classic, to fill another 16-federation field. The Qualifying Round returned for the 2017 edition of the WBC, leading to the first-ever WBC berths for the national teams of Colombia and Israel. For the 2023 edition, the field expanded to 20 – with all 16 countries that participated in the ‘17 WBC returning, along with four additional teams from the Qualifying Round. National teams of Great Britain, Nicaragua and the Czech Republic each received a first-ever WBC berth, and Panama qualified to return for the first time since 2009.


There are more Latin American teams in the World Baseball Classic than there were in the most recent World Cup, even with 12 fewer teams overall in the WBC.


The competitive format of the 2023 World Baseball Classic will feature 10 Round Robin games per pool during the First Round, with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the single-elimination bracket, consisting of four quarterfinal games in the Second Round followed by three single-elimination games in the Championship Round. 


For a complete schedule and ticket information, go to





Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, Panama at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, Taichung, Taiwan, March 8-12

Pool B: Japan, Korea, Australia, China, Czech Republic at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan, March 9-13

Pool C: USA, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Great Britain at Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, March 11-15

Pool D: Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua at loanDepot park, Miami, Florida, March 11-15



Quarterfinal 1: Pool B Runner-up vs. Pool A Winner, at Tokyo Dome, March 15

Quarterfinal 2: Pool A Runner-up vs. Pool B Winner, at Tokyo Dome, March 16

Quarterfinal 4: Pool D Runner-up vs. Pool C Winner, at loanDepot park, March 17

Quarterfinal 3: Pool C Runner-up vs. Pool D Winner, at loanDepot park, March 18



All games at loanDepot park, March 19-21

Semifinal 1: Quarterfinal 1 Winner vs. Quarterfinal 3 Winner

Semifinal 2: Quarterfinal 2 Winner vs. Quarterfinal 4 Winner

Title game: The two winners face off



Pool A

Game 1: Netherlands 4, Cuba 2

Game 2: Panama 12, Chinese Taipei 5

Game 3: Netherlands 3, Panama 1

Game 4: Italy 6, Cuba 3 (10 innings)

Game 5: Cuba 13, Panama 4

Game 6: Chinese Taipei 11, Italy 7

Game 7: Panama 2, Italy 0

Game 8: Chinese Taipei 9, Netherlands 5

Game 9: Cuba 7, Chinese Taipei 1

Game 10: Italy 7, Netherlands 1


Cuba wins pool; Italy runner-up


Pool B

Game 1: Australia 8, Korea 7

Game 2: Japan 8, China 1

Game 3: Czech Republic 8, China 5

Game 4: Japan 13, Korea 4

Game 5: Australia 12, China 2 (7 innings)

Game 6: Japan 10, Czech Republic 2

Game 7: Korea 7, Czech Republic 3

Game 8: Japan 7, Australia 1

Game 9: Australia 8, Czech Republic 3

Game 10: Korea 22, China 2 (5 innings)


Japan wins pool; Australia runner-up


Pool C

Game 1: Colombia 5, Mexico 4 (10 innings)

Game 2: United States 6, Great Britain 2

Game 3: Canada 18, Great Britain 8 (7 innings)

Game 4: Mexico 11, United States 5

Game 5: Great Britain 7, Colombia 5

Game 6: United States 12, Canada 1 (7 innings)

Game 7: Canada 5, Colombia 0

Game 8: Mexico 2, Great Britain 1

Game 9: Mexico 10, Canada 3

Game 10: United States 3, Colombia 2


Mexico wins pool; United States runner-up


Pool D

Game 1: Puerto Rico 9, Nicaragua 1

Game 2: Venezuela 5, Dominican Republic 1

Game 3: Israel 3, Nicaragua 1

Game 4: Venezuela 9, Puerto Rico 6

Game 5: Dominican Republic 6, Nicaragua 1

Game 6: Puerto Rico 10, Israel 0 (8 innings)

Game 7: Venezuela 4, Nicaragua 1

Game 8: Dominican Republic 10, Israel 0 (7 innings)

Game 9: Venezuela 5, Israel 1

Game 10: Puerto Rico 5, Dominican Republic 2


Venezuela wins pool; Puerto Rico runner-up



Quarterfinal 1: Cuba 4, Australia 3

Quarterfinal 2: Japan 9, Italy 3

Quarterfinal 4: Mexico 5, Puerto Rico 4

Quarterfinal 3: United States 9, Venezuela 7



Semifinal 1: United States 14, Cuba 2

Semifinal 2: Japan 6, Mexico 5



All Times are Local


Tuesday, March 21

Title Game: United States vs. Japan, 7:00 p.m., loanDepot park



United States vs. Japan: TBA vs. Shota Imanaga

  • Imanaga will start his first game of the tournament. He came in relief and pitched 3 innings against Korea in the 1st round, and 1 inning against Italy in the quarterfinals. Pitching in 4 innings, Imanaga has 2.25ERA giving up 1 run and striking out 5 hitters…Imanaga pitched a no-hitter on June 7, 2022, against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters…selected in the first round by the Yokohama DeNA Baystars in the 2015 draft…became of part of the starting rotation in rookie season, 2016…won 13 games in 2019 becoming the ace of the team…won 11 games in 2022 and helped team reach the Climax series…international: Participated in Asia Professional Baseball Championship 2017 and 2019 WBSC Premier 12.


- This game will either yield:


- 2nd-ever back-to-back WBC champs (USA), joining 06-09 JPN

- 2nd-ever undefeated WBC run (JPN), joining 2013 DOM


- The WBC’s only 2-time champ (JPN) can win a 3rd

- Japan can improve to 3-for-3 in WBC finals


- USA is just the 2nd defending champion to return to the title game, joining 2009 JPN, which successfully defended the title


- This will be the 4th WBC meeting between USA and Japan:


3/21/17 Semifinal: USA 2, JPN 1

3/22/09 Semifinal: JPN 9, USA 4

3/12/06 2nd Rd: USA 4, JPN 3


USA is 1 of 2 teams Japan has a losing record against in WBC play (0-1 vs PUR)

Mexico vs. Japan: LHP Patrick Sandoval vs. RHP Roki Sasaki

  • In his WBC debut, Sandoval earned the win tossing 3.0 IP against Team USA allowing 2 H, an ER, 2 BB and 2 strike outs. Sandoval, who reunites with Benji Gil (both are members of the Angels organization) is a native of Mission Viejo while his father is originally from Mexico City. He made his MLB debut in 2019, made his first Opening Day roster in 2020 and set career-highs in nearly every pitching category in 2022. A two-sport athlete in high school (football & baseball), Sandoval had a 6-9 mark with a 2.91 ERA in 148.2 IP last season for the Halos.
  • Sasaki started in 2 exhibition games (Miyazaki and Nagoya) prior to the WBC tournament. He pitched a total of 5 innings, faced 17 hitters, gave up 2 hits, and recorded 6 strikeouts. Sasaki started the third game for team Japan in the 1st round against the Czech Republic going 3.2 innings (66 pitches), giving up a run (unearned) with 8 strikeouts…Debuting in his first WBC games. Sasaki was drafted first overall by the Chiba Lotte Marines in the 2019 NPB draft.  He made his NPB debut in 2021 and went 3-2 with a 2.27ERA in 11 starts. In 2022, made 20 starts and had a 9-4 record with a 2.02ERA. Pitched in 129.1 innings and struck out 173 batters (23 walks). Sasaki threw a perfect game on April 10, 2022 against the Orix Buffaloes. He had 19 strikeouts which tied most strikeouts in a game, and set a new NPB record for consecutive strikeouts, striking out 13 batters in a row. In his next start on April 17, Sasaki was throwing a perfect game until he was pulled out from the game before the 9th inning. 

Cuba vs. United States: LHP Roenis Elias vs. RHP Adam Wainwright

  • Elías made debut in the National Series in 2008-09 with the Guantánamo team…made his MLB debut in 2014, playing seven seasons overall in MLB, most recently for Mariners in 2022…started 3/9 vs. Italy, going 5 scoreless innings…pitched 2 innings 3/15 vs. Australia, allowing 2 runs.
  • Wainwright is the longest tenured active Major Leaguer to appear with the same franchise…Enters the 2023 season as the 3rd-oldest active player in Major League Baseball behind Rich Hill and Nelson Cruz. Has faced every Major League team except St. Louis, and earned regular season wins against 26 teams in his career (Orioles, Yankees, Rangers & Cardinals are the exceptions)...At 41 years & 201 days old Sunday, Adam Wainwright will be the 4th-oldest pitcher to start a WBC game, younger than only 3/16/06 Roger Clemens (USA): 43 y, 224 d; 3/10/06 Clemens: 43 y, 218 d; 3/9/17 Rob Cordemans (NED): 42 y, 129 d (ELIAS)...started 3/11 vs. GBR, went 4 innings, allowing 1 run.

United States vs. Venezuela: RHP Lance Lynn (1-0, 1.80) vs. LHP Martín Pérez (0-0, 2.70)

  • Lynn went 5 IP vs Canada on 3/13, allowing 2 hits and 1 run on a solo HR…managed an 8-7 mark and 3.99 ERA in 2022 despite being limited to just 21 starts for the White Sox due to an early season right knee repair...he was particularly tough in the second half of the campaign going 7-4 with a 2.52 ERA. = Included in that second half was a phenomenal five-start span from August 19 - September 10, when he was 3-0 with a 0.85 ERA, allowing just three earned runs over 31.2 innings, fanning 38 and limiting opposing hitters to a .161 average. The veteran righthander possesses a career record of 123-84 that has featured stops with the Cards, Twins, Yankees, Rangers and now the White Sox...he was a first-round pick of the Redbirds in 2008 out of the University of Mississippi...he posted a career-best 18 wins with St. Louis in 2012.
  • On Saturday, Pérez threw 3.1IP, allowing 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 4K against the Dominican Republic… Enters his 11th MLB season, nine of them with the Rangers... In 2022, went 12-8 with a 2.89 ERA in 32 starts with the Rangers... Tossed 196.1IP which ranked him fifth in the American League (just one out shy of Alek Manoah on the fourth spot), and tenth in all MLB... His ERA in 2022 put him on the eight spot in the American League leaderboard… Collected two of his three career 9-strikeout games last season (7.14 vs. SEA, and 8.3 vs. BAL)… Was elected pitcher of the month in May 2023 after toeing the rubber in 6G, with 4-0, 0.64 ERA, and 33 K… This will be the first time in his career he takes the mound at loanDepot park… He sang the Venezuelan National anthem as part of the pre-game ceremony against the Astros at West Palm Beach on Wednesday.

Puerto Rico vs. Mexico: RHP Marcus Stroman vs. LHP Julio Urías

  • Stroman started against Nicaragua on Saturday and allowed one run on two hits (solo homer), striking out two batters and throwing 65 pitches…Starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs...previously spent time with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets…Stands at 5’7” and is one of only six pitchers shorter than 5’10” to make a start at the Major League level…Debuted with the Jays in 2014, later winning a Gold Glove Award in 2017...was named an A.L. All-Star in 2019…Was the World Baseball Classic MVP in 2017...allowed 4 ER across a tournament-high 15.1 IP (2.35 ERA) over 3 games for Team USA.
  • Urias, a native of Culiacan, Mexico, made his WBC debut in Mexico's opener against Colombia tossing 3.0 IP and punching out 6. He allowed a 2-R HR to Colombia's Reynaldo Rodriguez who spent time in the Mexican League. Participating in his first WBC after earning the 2022 ERA title (2.16, 175.0 IP). In 2021, he became the 4th Mexican-born pitcher to notch a 20-win season joining Esteban Loaiza (2003), Fernando Valenzuela (1986), and Teddy Higuera (1986). A 2020 World Series Champion, Urias also became the youngest starting pitcher in MLB postseason history at 20 years old when he pitched in Game 5 of the 2016 NLCS.

Italy vs. Japan: RHP Ryan Castellani vs. RHP Shohei Ohtani

  • Castellani will be making his second WBC start…did not factor in the decision in the first round vs. Chinese Taipei (2 ER/2.0 IP)...signed with the Kansas City Monarchs of the independent American Association of Professional Baseball on Feb. 13…spent the majority of 2022 with Triple-A Las Vegas, going 2-1 with a 11.97 ERA and 3 saves in 26 relief appearances…also made 3 scoreless appearances with the A’s (2.2 IP) last season…has pitched in 14 Major League games with the Rockies (2020-21) and A’s (2022) with a 1-4 mark and a 5.47 ERA…tossed 4.0 hitless innings in his Major League debut on Aug. 8, 2020 @ Mariners, retiring the first 12 batters faced…selected by the Rockies in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Brophy College Prep in Phoenix.
  • Ohtani was drafted by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the first round of the 2012 draft. The two-way player spent five seasons with the Fighters combining 42 wins with 624 Strikeouts in 543 innings as a pitcher, and 296 hits, 48 home runs with a .286 average as a hitter. Has been with the Los Angeles Angels from the 2018 season and has a record of 28 wins with 441 strikeouts in 349.2 innings as a pitcher, and total of 530 hits, 127 home runs with a .267 average as a hitter…WBC: Ohtani started the first game for team Japan against China. He threw 4 scoreless innings only giving up a single and no runs. He faced 13 hitters and threw 49 pitches. Ohtani struck out 5 hitters…International Experience: Participated in the 2012 18U Baseball World Championship, 2014 MLB Japan All Star Series, 2015 WBSC Premier 12. This is Ohtani’s first participation in the WBC. 



ATTENDANCE: The 2023 World Baseball Classic registered an attendance record for the First-Round drawing 1,010,999, the most attended round in the history of the tournament and a +98% increase vs. the previous record of 510,056 in 2017.  The average attendance of 25,275 also set a record for the First Round of the tournament eclipsing 2017’s average of 20,402 by +24%.


Pool B, held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, broke records for the most fans of any round in the history of the tournament (361,976) and the highest average attendance (36,198) of any First or Second Round pool in the tournament’s history.


Pool D in Miami at loanDepot park set the record for the most attended World Baseball Classic round ever in the United States drawing 295,850, an increase of +81%. Average attendance in Miami registered 29,585, which was an increase of +8% vs. the 2017 average of 27,313.

Mexico’s victory over Team USA on March 12th at Chase Field drew 47,534, which is a World Baseball Classic attendance record for any First Round game.


Both U.S. venues set single day attendance records in the buildings’ histories during the First Round on Saturday, March 11. loanDepot park drew 71,289 and Chase Field had total attendance of 68,147 both over the course of two games. 


GLOBAL VIEWERSHIP: In Japan, the March 10th Japan vs. Korea game on TBS registered a 44.4 rating, making it the most-watched game in the history of the World Baseball Classic in any country.  The game outrated all sports competition during the Tokyo Olympics. Japan’s four First Round games averaged a 42.3 rating in the country. 


In Taiwan, Chinese Taipei’s four First Round games averaged 1.301 million viewers on EBC News, an increase of +151% vs. the 2017 tournament. The average viewership of all four Chinese Taipei games were higher than all other sports programming in the market since September 2021.


In Korea, the four games featuring South Korea on SBS/KBS/MBC averaged 1.781 million viewers marking a +35% increase vs. the 2017 First Round average. South Korea’s match-up against Japan, which averaged 2.709 million viewers, was the most-watched World Baseball Classic game in Korea since their championship game competition against Japan in 2009.


In Puerto Rico, WAPA Deportes delivered a +77% increase in comparison to 2017 for all games featuring Puerto Rico in the First Round. Puerto Rico’s game against Dominican Republic averaged a 62% share of people watching TV at the time. Twenty-four percent of viewers who watched that game were under 35 years and 55% were female viewers.


In the Dominican Republic, viewership for the Dominican team’s games were +37% vs. 2017. In Mexico, the first two games on Imagen featuring Mexico registered an increase of +10% vs. 2017. Ratings for all four games in Mexico were not yet available.


Team USA’s first game versus Great Britain on FOX and FOX Deportes averaged 1.592 million viewers making it the most-watched first round game in the U.S. since 2009. 


MERCHANDISE: After the First Round, the 2023 World Baseball Classic has already broken the tournament’s all-time sales records for merchandise across both e-commerce and the four host venues – Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ; loanDepot Park in Miami, FL; the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; and Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan. The official online stores for World Baseball Classic merchandise are and the Fanatics network of websites.


SOCIAL MEDIA: Japanese star Shohei Ohtani gained the most followers of any player during the First Round with a 1.36 million increase since March 1st, which is approximate growth of +75%. In addition, there was +564% more total engagements on World Baseball Classic social media accounts during the First Round of the 2023 tournament compared to the 2017 event. 





WBC HISTORY: Cuba was the runner-up of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, ranked sixth in the 2009 World Baseball Classic,  placed fifth in the 2013 tournament and seventh in 2017. In the international arena, Cuba has won 25 World Cups in 32 appearances and three Olympic Games – Barcelona ’92, Atlanta ’96 and Athens ’04, in addition to silver medals in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008.


MEET THE MANAGER: Team Cuba has participated in every WBC from its beginning in 2006 with four different managers – the late Higinio Velez in 2006 and 2009, Victor Mesa in 2013, Carlos Martin 2017 and now Armando Johnson in 2023. Johnson played 12 seasons in the National Series, with Isla de la Juventud (1977-1989). He became the Manager of "Los Piratas," the team from his hometown, and has 19 National Series and two Super Leagues on his resume, an event that has since disappeared and which at the time brought together the best players in the country. Identified by his wisdom and responsibility towards work, the Cuban Baseball Federation assigned him the responsibility of teams attending international events like Under 15, Under 18 and Under 23 categories, with which he won medals of all kinds and increased the prestige that distinguishes him.  "A task that satisfies and commits, for what our sport means for Cuba", he has said about his appointment to lead the team to the World Baseball Classic. "The key to the preparation has been in the collective work and the excellent atmosphere that reigns in the team, strengthened with the arrival of athletes who came from other leagues, like a big family, convinced that the purpose of the team is above of any personal interest", says this 63-year-old man, who dreams of making happy the millions of compatriots who are waiting for his performance.


CUBAN ARTIST: A work by the plastic artist Michel Mirabal accompanies the team that represents Cuba in the V World Baseball Classic. The creator gave it to the players and other members of the delegation shortly after they were flag-bearers in Havana, and it is inspired by the island's national flag, a recurring theme in his work. With the rounded shape of a baseball, it is printed on pullovers, in two models, one blue and the other white, which have Mirabal's signature on one sleeve, who conceived it as an original piece, created especially for the occasion, in correspondence with his great love for this sport. "A great pride to have the opportunity to represent my country through sport in the World Baseball Classic," he wrote then on his twitter social network account.  "When they proposed it to me, I said yes right away, with great pleasure," the artist told the press, satisfied at having exchanged with the members of the team. Born in the Cuban capital in 1974, Michel Mirabal is one of the most recognized Cuban artists today. With numerous exhibitions on and off the island, his works are exhibited in public spaces and are part of private collections in different countries, including the United States.


HITS ABOUND: Cuba had 21 hits vs. Panama, the 2nd-most by a team in a game in WBC history, behind only Australia’s 22 vs. Mexico on 3/8/09.


PEDRO LUIS LAZO: Among the stars who are now meeting in Taichung for the V World Baseball Classic is Cuba's pitching coach, Pedro Luis Lazo. Born on April 15, 1973 in Pinar del Río, on the western end of the island, he made his debut in national series in 1991 with the Forestales team, prior to his inclusion in the Pinar del Río team, with which he won two consecutive crowns in 1997 and 1998. After joining the national youth team, in 1995 he joined the Cuban elite team, to weave a story full of successes. He is, for example, the only baseball player who played in four Olympic finals (gold medals in Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, and silver medals in Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008), and played a leading role in the conquest of the runner-up achieved by his country in the I World Classic, in 2006. There he faced 49 batters;  ERA of 2.25;  he won one game and saved another. He holds the record for most games won in Cuban national series, with 257 wins, and racked up more than 2,000 strikeouts in those events. He then went as coach to the Mexican League, but the great form in which he was seen in practice determined that he was hired as a pitcher by the Piratas de Campeche. He is considered by many to be one of the five best pitchers in Cuban baseball. Internationally he was a very successful pitcher: he won 22 games, lost only two and saved 31. He is the winningest pitcher in Cuban baseball, with 257 wins and 136 losses. In 20 National Series he struck out 2,426, accumulated a 3.22 earned run average and a .245 batting average. He pitched 72 games in the postseason: started 48, completed 26, won 29, saved seven, delivered six shutouts and struck out 311.


TEAM NOTES: With MLB players eligible to play for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic for the first time, Luis Robert and his White Sox teammate Yoán Moncada are among the biggest stars on the Cuban team…For the first time since 2009, Yoenis Céspedes will suit up for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. Now 37, the right-handed slugger was excellent in his lone Classic appearance, hitting .458 with two homers and a 1.480 OPS over six games. He began his MLB career with Oakland three years later and appeared in parts of eight seasons with the A’s, Red Sox, Tigers and Mets. The two-time Home Run Derby champion socked 165 dingers over 834 games as a Major Leaguer…Alfredo Despaigne enters ‘23 with seven career WBC home runs, most in tournament history.


ROAD TO TAIWAN: The team that represents Cuba in the World Baseball Classic was announced on January 25, after almost 10 days of training at the Latin American Stadium in Havana. The objective of adapting to the demands of the huge time difference with Taiwan and adding preparation matches defined the transfer to Japan, and then the first 12,116 kilometers of international transfer took place, landing in Tokyo on February 7, after stopping in Paris. A day later the flight was shorter, almost 3,000 kilometers to Okinawa Prefecture, where the first four games against teams from the professional league of that country were held. On February 22, there was a bus transfer to Miyazaki (1,118.7 km), the scene of another game of this type, and from there the road again, to sleep in Fukuoka, the starting point of the air route to Taipei (1,278 km), a city where the Cubans experienced four other clashes, three of them against professional teams. On March 3, like the rest of those called up to form Pool A, they arrived in Taichung, adding almost 166 kilometers to a well-worn journey.



WBC HISTORY: Italy is participating in its fifth World Baseball Classic and is 6-10 all-time…Italy went 1-3 in the most recent Classic, losing a one-game playoff to Venezuela, 4-3…in 2013, Italy advanced to the Second Round for the first time in WBC history before losing a pair of one-run games to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in Miami (both teams faced off in the championship)…Italy has never faced any of the teams in Pool A in previous WBC contests.


- Italy has won at least 1 game in all 5 WBC.

- Italy is 4-1 all-time in WBC openers, winning 3 straight (2013, '17, '23)...the 3 consecutive opening wins all came in Italy's last at-bat. scoring 11 runs total in the final frame (2 in '13, 5 in '17 and 4 in '23).

- In Game 1 @ Cuba, Italy earned its second win in WBC play without a home run (also: 6-2 win vs. Canada in 2009).


MEET THE MANAGER: Mike Piazza, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, will manage Team Italy in his first World Baseball Classic…Piazza's grandfather, Rosario, was from Sciacca, Sicily, and immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1930s…Piazza played for Italy in the 2006 WBC and served as the team's hitting coach in 2009, '13…is a 12-time National League All-Star, won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and was named the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year…his 386 home runs as catcher are the most all-time at that position.


NO HOMERS, NO PROBLEM: Italy became the third team to advance from WBC first round without homering, joining 2013 Japan and 2009 Netherlands, per Elias.


vs JAPAN: Italy is 3-26 all-time vs. Japan in international competitions…Japan won the last meeting at the 2022 Haarlem Week in July, 9-1…Italy's last win vs. Japan came in the 2010 InterContinental Cup in Taichung (3-0).


TEAM NOTES: Four members were born in Italy: RHP Matteo Bocchi, C Alberto Mineo, LHP Nicolò Pinazzi, RHP Claudio Scotti…only RHP Sam Gaviglio returns from Italy's 2017 World Baseball Classic team…Chris Denorfia (Third Base) played with Team Italy in the 2013 WBC and is now on the team's coaching staff…David and Dominic Fletcher represent the first pair of brothers to play on Team Italy in the WBC…the team trained in Scottsdale, Ariz., prior to departing for Taiwan and played two exhibition games at Douliu Stadium (3-3 tie on March 5 vs. Wei Chun Dragons and 10-1 win on March 6 vs. Uni Lions).


MISSION CLASSIC: Following Mike Piazza's 2019 announcement of his intention to manage Team Italy in this World Baseball Classic, he devised a plan called "Mission Classic," bringing American players with Italian heritage over to the country for a week…the players trained with local baseball teams, while also getting to travel through the country to connect with their family's roots…12 players on Italy's WBC roster took part in the trip: Matt Festa, Joey Marciano, Andre Pallante, Mitchell Stumpo, Vito Friscia, Brett Sullivan, David Fletcher, Dominic Fletcher, Nicky Lopez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Miles Mastrobouni and Ben DeLuzio…Team Italy has just one returning player from its 2017 WBC roster, Sam Gaviglio, fewest of any ’23 team. USA has second-fewest, with two (Nolan Arenado & Paul Goldschmidt).



WBC HISTORY: Team Japan has made the final four of every previous WBC. The team won the first two WBC tournaments and reached the semifinals in 2013 before losing to eventual runner-up Puerto Rico. Also reached the semifinals in 2017 before falling to the champions of the tournament, USA. Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka won tournament MVP for both 2006 and 2009. Overall, Japan has played 31 games in the WBC and has a 23-8 record. 


MEET THE MANAGER: Hideki Kuriyama played seven seasons as an outfielder for NPB’s Yakult Swallows. He managed the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for 10 seasons (2012-21), owning an overall record of 684-672 (.504). With two-way star Shohei Ohtani on the team roster, Kuriyama led the team to Japan Series Champions in 2016. He was appointed manager for team Japan in 2022. 

FINAL GAME: After a 9th inning come from the behind walk off win against Mexico in the semifinals game last night, team Japan has advanced to the final game of the tournament. Japan is the winner of the 2006 and 2009 WBC games, now the team has another chance to bring back home the trophy. With a win in the finale, Japan will go without losing a single game in this tournament. The team will face 2017 WBC champions USA, the team they lost to in the semifinals in 2017.  

Team Japan’s pitching has been the best among all teams in the tournament, having the lowest ERA (2.33) highest number of strikeouts (72), and lowest number of walks (7). Ohtani and Yoshida have been excellent at the plate this tournament. Ohtani is 9-20 (.450) with 4 doubles, 1 home run, and 8 RBIs. Yoshida has gone 9-19 (.474) with 2 homeruns and 13 RBIs. 13 RBIs in one tournament are the most in WBC history. Murakami, the triple crown winner from last season in Japan, was the hero in the semifinal game, hitting the double in the 9th that gave team Japan the victory. Murakami had been struggling at the plate throughout the tournament and was just 4-21(.190) with 3RBIs and 11 strikeouts until the biggest hit for team Japan.

The Japanese have been tuning into team Japan’s games, as TV rating has been extremely high. At one point during the quarterfinal game against Italy, TV rating was at 48%, the highest rating in history in Japan. The 1st round games marked ratings above 40% as well. 


SEMIFINALS: After taking down Team Italy in the quarterfinals, team Japan will face Team Mexico in the semifinals. Japan has now reached the semifinals in all WBC tournaments. This will be the second time Japan faces Mexico in the WBC tournament. The two teams played each other in the second round of the 2006 tournament. Japan won the game 6-1…Japan has been perfect in this tournament winning all five games up to this point. Two-way star Ohtani has had a superb performance hitting 7-16 (.438), 1HR, and 8 RBIs, and on the pitching side, starting in two games has gone 2-0 giving up just 2 runs with 10 strikeouts. Munetaka Murakami had a strong performance in the quarterfinal game going 2-3 (2 doubles). The triple crown winner from last season in Japan had just 2 hits after playing in 4 games in the 1st round of the tournament. Yoshida, the new Red Sox outfielder, has been swinging the hot bat going 6-15 (.400) with 10 RBIs after 5 games. Kensuke Kondoh has been consistent at the plate going 7-18 (.389) with 4 doubles and 5 RBIs. Kazuma Okamoto hit a 3-run home run and a 2RBI double in the quarterfinal game, raising his average to .333 with a 1.246 OPS. Team Japan’s pitching has been solid as a whole, owning a 1.28 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 5 walks.


QUARTERFINALS: After winning all four games in the 1st round, once again team Japan has advanced to the quarterfinals. Japan has qualified for the quarterfinals in all WBC tournaments. Team Japan was effective on both the defensive and offensive end in the 1st round. After competing in 4 games, Team Japan pitched to a 1.50ERA, with 52 strikeouts and 4 walks. After 4 games, offense has a .326 average and drew a total of 39 walks. Two-way star Shohei Ohatani has been brilliant on both ends. On the offense, he is 6-12 (.500) with one homerun, 8 RBIs, and 7 walks. On the pitching side, he went 4 innings without giving up a run and has 5 strikeouts. Ohtani was named the 1st round MVP…Lars Nootbaar has been hitting the ball well in the 1st round going 6-14 (.429) with 3 RBIs. Kondoh has had the hot bat going 7-15 (.467) with 5 RBIs and Yoshida has been great at the plate going 5-12 (.417) with 8 RBIs after playing in all 4 games in the 1st round. 


GOOD START: In front of 41,000 fans, Team Japan won their first tournament game against China 8-1. Japan kept the pressure on China all night as they drew a total of 16 walks. Japan’s 16 walks vs China were the most drawn in a game in WBC history, surpassing Venezuela’s 13 vs Australia on March 9, 2006 — the same date. With runners on 1st and 3rd in the 4th, Shohei Ohtani hit a double off the wall, batting in 2 runs. He also had a single in the 8th going 2-4 with 2 RBIs and 2 walks. Ohtani was superb on the mound as well. He started the game and threw 4 scoreless innings only giving up a single in the 4th. He faced 13 hitters and threw 49 pitches and struck 5. Shosei Togo followed Ohtani and threw 3 innings giving up a solo home run. He faced 12 hitters and had 7 strikeouts. Atsuki Yuasa took the mound on the 8th and struck out all 3 hitters he faced. Hiromi Itoh finished the game with a perfect 9th striking out 2 batters. Lars Nootbaar went 2-4 with 2 walks and a stolen base. Shugo Maki blasted a solo home run in the 7th, the first for team Japan in the tournament. Tetsuto Yamada, who was hitless in 6 exhibition games hit a bases loaded single in the 8th. Catcher Takuya Kai went 1-3 with 2 RBIs. 


GAME 2: Team Japan came out strong in their second game of the tournament beating Korea 13-4. Kensuke Kondoh enjoyed a great night at the plate going 2-3 with a solo homer and 3 RBIs. Shohei Ohtani had another superb performance with a single and a double, and an RBI. Masataka Yoshida had an excellent night going 3-3 with 5 RBIs. Lars Nootbaar had a pair of hits and an RBI. Yu Darvish was the starting pitcher for the squad pitching 3 innings. He faced 14 batters and gave up 3 hits including a solo home run. Darvish was tagged for 3 runs but was the winning pitcher of the game. Shota Imanaga came in relief and pitched 3 innings giving up just one run on a solo home run. Udagawa, Matsui, and Hiroto Takahashi threw the 7th, 8th, and 9th putting up zeros to secure team’s victory. 


3 WINS: Japan won their third game of the tournament 10-2 against the Czech Republic. That is 3 wins in a row for team Japan. Sasaki had a stable performance giving just one run and striking out 8 hitters in 3.2 innings. Coming in relief, Hiroya Miyagi had a dominating performance, going 5 innings, giving up one run and striking out 7 hitters. Miyagi struck out the last 5 hitters he faced and finished the game getting his first save. Japan’s offense came alive in the 3rd inning scoring 3 runs on Yoshida’s double (2 RBI) and Yamada’s single (1 RBI) taking the lead. Followed up with a strong 4th inning scoring 4 runs on Nootbaars single (1 RBI), Kondoh’s double (1 RBI), Ohtani’s double (1 RBI), and Yoshida’s sacrifice fly. The Offense added another run in the 5th and 2 more runs in the 8th, scoring a total of 10 runs. That’s two days in a row with 10 or more runs for team Japan’s offense. Maki had a solo home run in the 8th, his second home run in the tournament. Munetaka Murakami, Japan’s cleanup hitter, recorded a single in the 8th, his first hit of the tournament. 


TEAM NOTES: Team Japan held a training camp from February 17- 27 in Miyazaki. 26 players reported to camp including San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish. Team Japan played two exhibition games in Miyazaki against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, winning the first game, 8-4, played on Feb 25, and also taking the second game, 4-2, the following day. After wrapping up their training camp in Miyazaki, team Japan stopped in Nagoya to play two exhibition games against the Chunichi Dragons. Both games had an attendance of over 35,000. Team Japan lost the first game, 7-2, on March 3. Team Japan won the second game the following day, 4-1. Roki Sasaki started this game for his final tune up for the tournament. Sasaki threw three scoreless innings, facing 11 hitters, with three strikeouts and giving up one single. Kazuma Okamoto belted the first home run (Solo HR) for team Japan. Team Japan’s third and final stop before the tournament was Osaka to play the Hanshin Tigers on March 6, and the Orix Buffaloes on March 7. Team Japan won, 8-1, against the Hanshin Tigers. Lars Nootbaar debuted for Team Japan as the starting center fielder and had two hits and an RBI. Masataka Yoshida started in left field and had a single with an RBI in his debut. Two-way super star Shohei Ohtani made his debut as the team’s DH batting third in the lineup. The 2021 AL MVP had a sensational night with two home runs and six RBIs. Team Japan won its second game in Osaka beating the Orix Buffaloes, 9-1. In the final tuneup game Munetaka Murakami, Triple Crown winner last season, blasted a three-run home run. Masataka Yoshida had a three-hit night with four RBIs. Playing in two exhibition games, Ohtani was 3-4 with two home runs and six RBIs. With over 33,000 fans in the stands, tickets for both exhibition games were sold out.  Leading up to the tournament, Team Japan played six exhibition games, winning five. Kensuke Kondoh and Kazuma Okamoto had the hot bats during the exhibition games. Playing in all six games, Kondoh was 9-14 (.643) with two RBIs, Okamoto was 7-20 (.350) with six RBIs.  


Four players from MLB are participating in this tournament; Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), Lars Nootbar (St. Louis Cardinals), Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) and Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox). Darvish is the oldest player on the roster at age 36. He was the winning pitcher on the mound when Team Japan won the tournament in 2009. Lars Nootbaar, who is half Japanese, will be taking part in his first WBC tournament. His mother Kumiko is Japanese. He grew up in Southern California and as a child his dream was to play for the Japanese national team one day. Ohtani will be participating in his first WBC. Yoshida has played in various international tournaments such as the 2019 WBSC Premier 12 and the 2020 Olympics, but this will be his first WBC participation. 




WBC HISTORY: Mexico has been a part of all four previous World Baseball Classics including serving as a host site in the 2009 edition of the WBC. In 2006, they reached the second round and placed 6th overall with a 3-3 record. The following tournament yielded a 2-4 record and an 8th place finish as the home field advantage didn't quite pan out in 2009. The last two WBC's have both led to 1-2 records and a first round exit.


MEET THE MANAGER: Team Mexico will be led by Benjamin "Benji" Gil. Born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Gil is a former first-round pick (19th overall) of the Texas Rangers in the 1991 Draft. He went on to play in parts of eight seasons with the Rangers (1993, 1995-97) and the Angels (2000-03). Gil was a member of the 2002 World Champion Angels going 4-for-5 in the Fall Classic and also won a Mexican League Championship in 2007 while with the Sultanes de Monterrey. Gil, who enters his second season as a coach with the Angels in 2023, also has an extensive managerial career in the Mexican Leagues. He was named the first manager in the history of the Mariachis de Guadalajara and proceeded to be named Manager of the Year after guiding them to a league-best 46-17 record. Additionally, he managed five seasons with the Tomateros de Culiacan (2014-15, 2017, 2019-21) winning the league championship in four of his five seasons. Benji was also at the helm for Team Mexico during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo where the Mexican squad failed to notch a win and finished with an 0-3 record.



• Team Mexico dropped their first game of the tournament and the Pool C opener at Chase Field yesterday by a score of 5-4 to Colombia in 10 innings. Julio "El Culichi" Urias tossed 5.0 inning in his WBC debut striking out 6 and allowing a 2-R HR to Reynaldo Rodriguez of Colombia. Rodriguez, who plays for Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League, actually played for Mexico in the Caribbean Series.

• Randy Arozarena, another member of Team Mexico making his WBC debut, went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, R, BB, SO and a laser 2-R HR that tied the game at 3 in the 5th. The 112.5 MPH rocket was the hardest hit HR of Arozarena's career, surpassing any of his MLB HR's (per @SlangsonSports).

• The matchup was the first ever between Mexico and Colombia in the WBC and drops Mexico's all-time record to 0-5 in WBC openers. They'll look to rally and advance for only the second time in tournament history with the first being in the inaugural tournament after dropping the 2006 opener to the United States.

• This was also the first extra-inning game for Mexico in its WBC history and the first game in the history of WBC to feature the new extra-inning runner on 2nd rule.



• In front of a sold out crowd of 47,534, Team Mexico improved its all-time record against USA to 3-1 in the World Baseball Classic with an 11-5 triumph. With 3 of their 4 WBC matchups coming at Chase Field, Team USA was dealt their worst defeat at the hands of their southern neighbors in WBC history after allowing 11 runs, tying fo the most the Americans have ever given up in a WBC game (11) and their second worst loss in tournament history (mercy ruled 11-1 on 3/14/09 vs. Puerto Rico).

• The 11 runs scored by Mexico ties for the third most in their WBC history. They scored 16 in a victory over Australia, 14 two days prior against South Africa in the 2009 edition of the tournament and 11 against Venezuela in the 2017 WBC.

• With 8 out of the 9 starters registering a knock, Mexico's 15 hits were their 2nd most of any game in their WBC history behind only the 16 they collected on March 9, 2009 vs. South Africa.

• Randy Arozarena continues to dazzle in his WBC debut going a combined 5-for-9 with 4 R, 3 doubles, HR, 4 RBI and a BB in Mexico's first two games. He currently leads Mexico in AVG (.556), HRs (2), OBP (.600), SLG (1.222), OPS (1.822), 2B (3) and XBH (4) while tying for first in hits (5) and total bases (11). His 4 RBI rank 2nd behind Joey Meneses' 5.



• With his 3-for-5 night, Joey Meneses burst onto the scene in a big way. The Washington National clobbered a 2-R HR off USA starter Nick Martinez in the 1st and later struck again with a 3-R HR off Brady Singer in the 4th inning finishing the night with 5 RBI.

• Meneses became the 3rd player for Team Mexico to have a multi-HR game in the WBC joining Adrian Gonzalez (3/9/09 vs. South Africa) and Karim Garcia (3/11/09 vs. Australia).

• After a 10-year career in the minor leagues with stops in the Mexican & Japanese professional leagues, Meneses became the first Mexican-born player to hit a HR in his Major League debut...he went on to notch 72 hits in his first 56 games; the most by any rookie in franchise history...amongst rookies with at least 200 plate appearances, he ranked 1st in AVG (.324), wOBA (.395), slugging (.563), OPS (.930) and 4th in OBP (.367)


TAI-ONE(HIT ALLOWED): Taijuan Walker dominated the team from Great Britain with a masterful performance going 4.0 IP on 63 pitches while striking out 8 and only allowing 1 hit…The 8 SO's by Walker were the most ever thrown by a Team Mexico pitcher and the 4th most by any pitcher in the history of the World Baseball Classic behind only: Jose De Leon (10- 3/13/23), Ubaldo Jimenez (10 - 3/10/09) and Kenta Maeda (9 -3/10/13)...Walker, who is representing his mother's side of the family, struck out Darnell Sweeney in the top of the 2nd on a pitch clocked at 95.7 MPH. In the 2022 regular season, Walker only had one strikeout on a pitch that was faster than his K of Sweeney.


HEY MR. WILSON!: On the offensive side, Alexis Wilson came through in a big way for Team Mexico making his first start of the tournament spelling C Austin Barnes. Wilson drove in  3B Isaac Paredes for Mexico's 1st run of the game and later put Mexico ahead for good with a 2-strike base hit to drive in SS Alan Trejo…Wilson, born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014 as a 17-year-old international free agent and debuted professionally with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals that same year. He was released by the Cardinals organization in 2020 and has played in the Mexican Professional League since…The last two seasons, he's played for the Tigres de Quintana Roo and the Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Winter League. In addition to being managed by Benji Gil with the Tomateros, Wilson was also a member of the 2020 Olympic Mexico team managed by Gil. After the game, when asked about Wilson, Gil stated: "Alexis is awesome."


LET’S GET ROWDY: With his 3rd inning double (111.7 MPH) and his 6th inning lineout (115.4 MPH), Rowdy Tellez stuck two balls over 111 MPH. He failed to do so in any 2022 regular season game last season...his lineout in particular would've registered as his second-hardest hit ball of 2022 (116.9 MPH groundout on 6/30/22 @ PIT).


TEAM NOTES: Team Mexico is led by their pitching staff and, in particular, their starters. Julio Urias, Patrick Sandoval, Taijuan Walker and Jose Urquidy make up a formidable staff as Mexico looks to advance to the second round for just the second time in the tournament's history…Team Mexico has 20 players currently on MLB 40-man rosters. There are also 5 sets of teammates on the squad: Arozarena/Paredes/Aranda (Rays), J. Urias/Barnes (Dodgers), L. Urias/Tellez (Brewers), Verdugo/Duran (Red Sox) and Gallegos/Romero (Cardinals). First-time participants for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic include Randy Arozarena, Rowdy Tellez, Isaac Paredes, Joey Meneses, Alan Trejo, Alek Thomas and others. Returners from the 2017 WBC Mexico roster include Giovanny Gallegos, Luis Urias and Alex Verdugo…Prior to Saturday's opener, Team Mexico prepared for the tournament by playing a pair of exhibition games in Arizona. On Wednesday, March 8, Mexico was defeated by a score of 6-0 to the Cleveland Guardians in Goodyear, AZ. In the loss, SS Alan Trejo went 3-for-3 accounting for 3 of Mexico's 5 hits. Team Mexico bounced back the following day defeating the Colorado Rockies by a score of 11-1 at Salt River Fields in their final tune-up before the tournament kicks off. A pair of Rays led the offensive charge on the day as Arozarena and Paredes combined to go 4-for-6 on the day. Trejo added a knock and 2 RBI to go a combined 4-for-6 in Mexico's 2 exhibition games…While born in Cuba, Randy Arozarena will represent Mexico in his first World Baseball Classic. The 2021 Rookie of the Year became a Mexican citizen in 2022 after leaving Cuba at the age of 19 and having played for the Toros of Tijuana prior to being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. One of his three daughters was also born in Mexico.





WBC HISTORY: With Wednesday’s win over Colombia, the United States has a 19-13 ledger in all WBC competition, including a 6-2 mark in 2017 en route to its first WBC title...Team USA advanced to the Championship Round for a second time in tourney history in 2017, knocking off Japan, 2-1, in the semifinals and winning the tournament with an 8-0 triumph over Puerto Rico...the only other time the U.S. reached the title round was in 2009, dropping a 9-4 decision to Japan in the semi’s.


MEET THE MANAGER: Former Major League infielder Mark DeRosa gets his first career managerial stint as he leads Team USA in the 2023 WBC...the Passaic, New Jersey native had a 16-year big league career that started in 1998 mainly as a utility infielder with the Atlanta Braves and included stops with the Rangers, Cubs, Indians, Cardinals, Giants, Nationals and Blue Jays...since retiring as a player in 2013, DeRo has been a regular as an analyst on MLB Network... an Ivy Leaguer (Penn), DeRosa is the fifth different manager in five World Baseball Classics for Team USA, joining Buck Martinez (2006), Davey Johnson (2009), Joe Torre (2013) and Jim Leyland (2017).


TREA’S MAGNIFIQUE: Trea Turner is the 6th Team USA player to homer in back-to-back WBC games, joining 2017 Buster Posey, 2017 Adam Jones, 2009 Adam Dunn, 2009 Kevin Youkilis and 2006 Derrek Lee…With his homer in his first PA Sunday after the grand slam Saturday, he became the fifth player with HR in consecutive PA in WBC history, per Elias. He joins 3/9-11, 2023 Robbie Glendinning AUS, 3/9-10, 2023 Euiji Yang KOR, 3/8/2009 Miguel Olivo DOM and 3/10/2006 Ken Griffey Jr. USA…With his second homer Sunday, he marked the 2nd multi-HR game in Team USA WBC history, joining 3/10/2006 Ken Griffey Jr…Turner’s 4 HR are the most by a Team USA player in a single WBC and tied with 2017 Wladimir Balenien (NED) and 2006 Adrian Beltre (DOM) for 2nd-most overall in a single WBC, behind only 2006 Seung Yuop Lee (KOR): 5…Turner’s 10 RBI are tied with 2013 David Wright + 2006 Ken Griffey Jr for most by Team USA in a single WBC and tied with them and others for 3rd-most overall in a single WBC, behind only 2017 Wladimir Balentien, NED: 12 and 2009 Taekyun Kim, KOR: 11…Turner’s multi-HR game is the 2nd by a No. 9 hitter in WBC history, joining 3/8/09 Miguel Olivo (DOM)...Turner is the 1st player in @WBCBaseball history with 4+ RBI in consecutive games.


MORE ON USA’S OFFENSE: USA has now scored 14 first-inning runs at this WBC, 2nd-most by a team in a single WBC, behind only 2009 Korea: 19…Paul Goldschmidt’s 112.0 mph HR – he only had 1 batted ball harder than that all of last season: a 112.3 mph 1B on 5/13. Only 3 of his MLB HR tracked by Statcast (2015) have been harder (1 each in ’21, ’18, ’17)...USA’s 49 runs are 6th-most in a single WBC, behind only:


2006 JPN: 60

2017 PUR: 55

2009 KOR: 53

2009 JPN: 50

2009 USA: 50


FAST START SATURDAY: The United States began its quarterfinal game with five straight hits, marking the 2nd time a team has started a WBC game with 5+ straight hits, along with 3/17/17 Puerto Rico, 6 straight hits to start vs USA.


TREA’S GRAND MOMENT: With USA trailing, 7-5, in the eighth, hit an 0-2 Silvino Bracho changeup 407 feet for a grand slam. It was the third grand slam for Team USA at the WBC, joining David Wright, 3/9/13 and Jason Varitek, 3/8/06. USA now has 3 of the 14 grand slams in WBC history, tied with Korea for most by any team. It was also the third grand slam in WBC in the eighth or later, but the first of those with that player’s team trailing. The other two; James Beresford (AUS), 3/9/17, 8th, up 7-0 and Victor Martinez (VEN), 3/13/06, 8th, up 2-0.


BIG FISH LEADS TEAM TO MIAMI: WBC rookie Mike Trout had three hits and drove in all three runs in Team USA’s 3-2 win over Colombia on Wednesday night in Arizona’s Chase Field to propel his squad to the Quarterfinals here in loadDepot Park...the 31-year old who has done it all during his career, updated his big league resume with a first inning triple, run scoring single in the third and then staking the US to the lead with a 2-run knock in the fifth...Mookie Betts chipped in with a couple of hits, while scoring two of the three runs and Will Smith, who walked in the fifth also scored...Kendall Graveman from the White Sox, fired a scoreless fourth inning, ending the frame with by picking off Dayan Frias and earned the win...Houston’s Ryan Pressly picked up his first WBC save with a scoreless ninth.


PEN STIFLES COLOMBIA TO ADVANCE USA: The Red, White and Blue’s relief corps kept Colombia off the board for the final six innings of Wednesday’s win in Phoenix, with six hurlers each taking an inning to allow only two hits and a walk with nine strikeouts...the sixsome faced only one over the minimum over the final 6.0 frames, with winner Kendall Graveman allowing hit, but after a fielder’s choice he had an inning-ending pickoff...Daniel Bard followed Graveman and walked his first hitter, but he was immediately erased with a caught stealing...David Bednar, Jason Adam and Devin Williams each supplied a 1-2-3 inning, with Adam striking out the side, then Ryan Pressly allowed a two-out infield hit, but closed the contest with a strikeout... dating back to last Sunday, the bullpen has not allowed a run in its last 9.1 innings with 5 hits, a walk and 12 strikeouts.


THERE’S “T-A” IN TEAM: Tim Anderson proved that he is definitely playing for the name on his chest as manager Mark DeRosa asked if he’d play second base the last two games against Canada and Colombia, respectively...this marks the first time that T.A. has played the position as a Major Leaguer, though it obviously will not count on his season stats...for the record, he came into Monday night playing 766 career Major League games spanning 6,659.1 innings.


TEAM NOTES: With this the first WBC since 2017 due to the pandemic, Team USA had but two holdovers from the 2017 WBC title club in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt... this year’s 30-man roster features 18 MLB All-Stars, 11 Silver Slugger Award recipients, seven World Series Champions, five Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, three Most Valuable Players and three Rookies of the Year...Arenado and Goldschmidt are joined by fellow USA alums Daniel Bard, Lance Lynn, Kyle Schwarber, Mike Trout, Kyle Tucker, Trea Turner, and Bobby Witt, Jr... the USA Baseball alumni span one 15U National Team, three 18U National Teams, four Collegiate National Teams, two Professional National Teams, and one World Baseball Classic Team... collectively, four alums have won a gold medal in international play...this 2023 World Baseball Classic reunites former USA Baseball teammates Schwarber and Turner (2013 Collegiate National Team) and Arenado and Goldschmidt (2017 World Baseball Classic Gold Medal winning team).




WBC HISTORY: Venezuela has appeared in each edition of the World Baseball Classic, advancing to the semi-final round in 2009 before losing to South Korea in the Semifinals. Venezuela is 12-12 all-time at the classic advancing to the second round in 2006 and 2017; Against other Pool D teams, Venezuela is 2-3 against Puerto Rico after matchups in each of the previous four events and are 0-4 against the Dominican Republic facing off against them in all but the 2009 tournament. Venezuela has yet to play both Israel and Nicaragua in the World Baseball Classic. 


MEET THE MANAGER: Omar Lopez will lead Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic. Lopez played three seasons in the minor leagues for the Chicago White Sox (1996-97) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (1998) and in 2023 will begin his 25th season in the Houston Astros organization. Omar earned the 2010 Astros Player Development Man of the Year Award and has two Liga Profesional de Beisbol Venezolano (LVBP) championships to his credit with Caribes de Anzoátegui (2014-15 and 2017-18) as manager and served as part of the coaching staff of Team Venezuela at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. 


ABOUT YESTERDAY: Venezuela came from behind to beat Team Nicaragua 4-1 and get their third win at the 2023 World Baseball Classic… Eugenio Suárez went 2-3 with 2 RBI, those two runners sent to home plate were to put Venezuela ahead in the scoreboard… Andrés Giménez finished the game going 1-4 with a run scored and one RBI… Anthony Santander went 2-2 with a run scored, two walks, and one run batted in… the bullpen allowed just four hits in 7.0 scoreless innings with 9 SO, and no walks. RHP José Ruiz earned his second win of the tournament after tossing 2.0IP and striking out a pair… Carlos Hernández tossed 2.0IP as well and had four punch outs… José Alvarado turned off the lights at loanDepot Park after 1.0IP and two strikeouts, keeping Team Venezuela undefeated at the current tournament.


THREE WINS: For the first time at the WBC, Team Venezuela has won three games in the Pool Play stage. In 2006 they finished 2-1, in 2009 they went 2-1, in 2013 they just won one out of three and got ousted in the first round, and in 2017 they won one and got two losses forcing a tiebreaker with Italy and defeating the Squadra Azzurri 4-3 to advance to the second round.


TEAM NOTES: Began its participation at the 2023 WBC after defeating the Houston Astros 9-8 with Miguel Cabrera going 1-3 with a pair of RBIs and David Peralta bringing two as well... On Thursday 3.9. they beat the New York Mets 6-4. José Altuve had a pair of solo homers, one as a lead-off and SP Enmanuel De Jesús took the win after tossing 2.0 scoreless innings while striking out a pair of Mets… The Venezuelan roster has six World Series Champions among the players (Luis García, Eduardo Rodríguez, Salvador Pérez, José Altuve, Miguel Cabrera, and Ronald Acuña Jr.) and three among the coaching staff (Omar López, Javier Bracamonte, and Tomás Pérez). The current team has nine players with All-Star experience (S. Pérez, Altuve, Arráez, Cabrera, Escobar, Giménez, Suárez, Torres, and Acuña Jr.), two MVP (Cabrera, Altuve), one WS MVP (S. Pérez), four Gold Glove winners (S. Pérez, Altuve, Giménez, Peralta), six Silver Sluggers (S. Pérez, Altuve, Arráez, Cabrera, Acuña Jr., Peralta), three batting champions (Altuve, Arráez, Cabrera), one Rookie of the Year (Acuña Jr.), and of course one Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera.


MIGGY FROM THE GET-GO: DH Miguel Cabrera is entering his fifth WBC participation, becoming the only position player in having his name on the lineup in as many tournaments. “Miggy” has belted a home run in each WBC and is ranked tied for second in the tournament history in bombs with six, just one shy of Alfredo Despaigne (CUB). Cabrera was designated the Team Captain by Manager Omar López.



WBC HISTORY: Puerto Rico has appeared in each edition of the World Baseball Classic, advancing to the championship game in each of the last two editions, coming up one win short in 2013 and 2017.The team is 20-9 all-time during World Baseball Classic play, going 4-2 in 2006; 4-2 in 2009; 5-4 in 2013 losing the championship game to an undefeated Dominican squad; and 7-1 in 2017, their only loss coming in the finals against the USA. Against other Pool D teams, Puerto Rico is 2-3 against the Dominican Republic and 3-2 against Venezuela. Puerto Rico has yet to play Israel or Nicaragua in the World Baseball Classic.


MEET THE MANAGER: Yadier Molina will serve as manager of Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic. The Cardinals legend played his entire career in St. Louis and is widely considered one of the greatest defensive catchers of all-time, winning nine Rawlings Gold Gloves, six Fielding Bible Awards, four Platinum Glove Awards, and one Silver Slugger Award. A two-time World Series champion, Yadi’s Cardinals team made the playoffs 12 times, winning four National League pennants. Molina played for the Puerto Rican national team in all four previous World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournaments, winning two silver medals (2013, 2017). Upon retiring in 2022, Molina ranked first all-time among catchers in putouts and second among catchers with 130 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) since the stat was tracked, and among active players, ranked first with 845 assists, 40.2% of runners caught stealing, and 55 pickoffs. Molina made his debut as manager of the U-23 National Team in the 2017 World Cup and 2018 World Cup and recently served as the manager of the Magallanes Navegantes team in the Professional League of Venezuela.


PERFECCIÓN: José De León’s 10 strikeouts were tied for most in a WBC game, with 3/10/09 Ubaldo Jiménez: 10. He threw 5 ⅔ perfect innings, already a record, and Puerto Rico finished the game with eight perfect innings and a run rule victory...Puerto Rico recorded six extra base hits and sealed the win in the bottom of the eighth inning with an Enrique Hernández walkoff single...JAVIER BÁEZ led the way with two hits (both doubles), two runs, two RBI and one stolen base, tying for most career stolen bases in WBC history with five (also Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Jimmy Rollins, Ichiro Suzuki).


GAME 2: Team Puerto Rico took their first loss of the 2023 WBC against Venezuela by a score of marked the first time that Puerto Rico suffered a loss in the first round of pool play since March 10, 2013 (2-4 loss to Dominican Republic)...the losing pitcher

in both games was JOSÉ BERRÍOS...Venezuela jumped out to an early lead thanks to a seven runs-combined between the first two innings... Salvador Perez fell a triple shy of a cycle, and his four hits are tied for second-most by anyone in a game in WBC history, behind only Martín Prado who had five hits on March 11, 2017 for Venezuela (h/t Sarah Langs)...Puerto Rico fought back courtesy of a four-run sixth inning, but left the tying run at the plate after Eddie Rosario grounded into a double play with two runners on base in the bottom of the eighth inning.


GAME 1: Team Puerto Rico opened group D pool play with a 9-1 win over Nicaragua...Marcus Stroman tossed 4.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits, including a solo homer on his last pitch thrown (pitch number 65)...Nicholas Padilla picked up the win after a five-run fifth inning that was boosted by an MJ Meléndez two-run RBI single...Francisco Lindor, Martín Maldonado, Javier Báez and Christian Vázquez led the way for Puerto Rico with two hits each.


TEAM NOTES: Six players on Team Puerto Rico’s active roster are current members of the Minnesota Twins organization: RHP JOSÉ DE LEÓN, RHP JORGE LÓPEZ, LHP JOVANI MORÁN, RHP EMILIO PAGÁN, RHP DERECK RODRÍGUEZ and C CHRISTIAN VÁZQUEZ...six signifies the most players of any single MLB organization on the Puerto Rican squad, ahead of Cincinnati (3 players: RHP FERNANDO CRUZ, RHP ALEXIS DÍAZ, RF HENRY RAMOS) and New York-NL (3 players: RHP EDWIN DÍAZ, RHP DOMINIC HAMEL, SS FRANCISCO LINDOR)...overall, 17 of the 30 MLB organizations are represented on Team Puerto Rico…12 of Puerto Rico’s 30 active players have previously participated in one-or-more WBC’s, combining for 14 prior WBC appearances entering this year’s spectacle...2023 will mark the third WBC for RHP JOSÉ BERRÍOS (2017, ‘13) and RF EDDIE ROSARIO (2017, ‘13) and the second tournament for SS JAVIER BÁEZ (2017), RHP JOSÉ DE LEÓN (2017 - 2nd round only), RHP EDWIN DÍAZ (2017), 2B ENRIQUE HERNÁNDEZ (2017), SS FRANCISCO LINDOR (2017), RHP JORGE LÓPEZ (2017), C MARTÍN MALDONADO (2013), RHP EMILIO PAGÁN (2017), LHP HÉCTOR SANTIAGO (2017) and RHP MARCUS STROMAN (2017)...PItching Coach RICKY BONES (2017) and Asst. Hitting Coach JUAN GONZÁLEZ (2017) also return to the Puerto Rican coaching staff for their second WBC’s.



POOL A, Taichung, Taiwan: Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium will host WBC action for the second time, having also been a first-round site in 2013. The stadium opened in 2006. The first phase of construction included 15,000 infield seats, and after the second phase was completed in 2008, seating capacity was expanded to 20,000 by adding 5,000 outfield seats. Since 2015, the park has served as the home of CTBC Brothers of the CPBL.


POOL B, Tokyo, Japan: The Tokyo Dome, nicknamed the “Big Egg,” will host WBC action in both the first and second rounds. It is the fifth time that the building has hosted WBC games. Opened on March 17, 1998, the Tokyo Dome was the first domed stadium in Japan and serves as the home of the Yomiuri Tokyo Giants of the NPB. There’s a little bit of WBC incentive inside, too – the dome is the home of the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame and the trophy from Japan’s victory in the first WBC in 2006 resides there.


POOL C, Phoenix, Arizona: Chase Field will host WBC action for the third time, having also been a first-round site in 2006 and 2013. The ballpark opened in 1998 as the home of MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. Two other venues in the Phoenix area have hosted games in prior WBCs: Scottsdale Stadium in ‘06 and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in ‘13, both in Scottsdale.


POOL D, Miami, Florida: loanDepot park is hosting WBC games for the third consecutive tournament. Miami will host WBC action in each round of the tournament. This will be Miami’s first time hosting the championship round. In addition to the 2013 and ‘17 tournament games at this ballpark, the city also hosted a WBC second round in 2009 at Dolphin Stadium, the former home of MLB’s Miami Marlins.