Major League Baseball today announced the six provisional rosters for participating Baseball Federations in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Six Dodgers are among the event's provisional participants - Ronald Belisario (Venezuela), Luis Cruz (Mexico), Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico), Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic), Nick Punto (Italy) and Paco Rodriguez (Spain). Additionally Fernando Valenzuela will return as pitching coach for Team Mexico.
Gonzalez, Team Mexico's captain, will be making his third appearance for Team Mexico (2006, 2009). Cruz will be making his second appearance for Team Mexico (2006). Ramirez will be making his second appearance for Team Dominican Republic (2009). Punto will be making his second appearance for Team Italy (2009). Rodriguez will be making first appearance for Team Spain. Valenzuela will coach Team Mexico for the third time (2006, 2009).
Teams with less than 28 players on their provisional rosters may fill the remaining spots prior to the Wednesday, February 20th deadline. Each Federation must submit its final 28-man roster, including a minimum of 13 pitchers and two catchers, by February 20th.
The WBC will begin on Saturday, March 2 and the Dodgers will play host to Mexico's World Baseball squad on March 6 at Camelback Ranch.
Pool A, which will be played at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome from Saturday, March 2nd-Wednesday, March 6th, will include the countries of Brazil, China, Cuba and Japan. The opening game at the venue on March 2nd will feature two-time defending champion Japan vs. newcomer and Qualifier victor Brazil, managed by Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, at 7:00 p.m. (all times local).
Pool B will feature the countries of Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan from Saturday, March 2nd-Tuesday, March 5th. The opening game on March 2nd will be played at 12:30 p.m. between 2009 finalist Korea and the Netherlands.
Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico will host the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela for Pool C contests from Thursday, March 7th-Sunday, March 10th. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic will square off in the first game in San Juan on March 7th at 7:30 p.m.
Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Arizona will host games in Pool D, featuring Canada, Italy, Mexico and the United States from Thursday, March 7th-Sunday, March 10th. Salt River Fields will host the opening game on March 7th at 1:00 p.m. between Mexico and Italy. Team USA, managed by Joe Torre, will debut on the night of Friday, March 8th vs. Team Mexico at 7:00 p.m. at Chase Field in Phoenix.
The First Round will feature a round-robin format with the top two teams at each venue advancing to one of two Second Round pools. The Second Round, which will be a modified double-elimination format, will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan and Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. Pool 1 at the Tokyo Dome, from Friday, March 8th-Tuesday, March 12th, will feature the winners and runners-up from Pools A and B, while Pool 2 at Marlins Park, from Tuesday, March 12th-Saturday, March 16th, will host the winners and runners-up from Pools C and D. The winners and runners-up from each of the Second Round pools will advance to the Championship Round at AT&T Park in San Francisco from Sunday, March 17th-Tuesday, March 19th.
The World Baseball Classic, which is officially sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will for the first time in 2013 be recognized as the official national team World Championship, with the winner being crowned the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champion and the IBAF World Champion.
Tickets are available for all tournament venues at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in the United States from March 2nd-19th.