World Baseball Classic to feature Phillies

Posted: December 11, 2008

LAS VEGAS - Fans heading to Clearwater, Fla., to check out the World Series champion Phillies this spring might not see all of their favorite players.

The second World Baseball Classic will be played in March, and the Phils could contribute a number of players to several of the competing nations' rosters.

Team USA could feature starting pitcher Cole Hamels, closer Brad Lidge and slugging first baseman Ryan Howard. Second baseman Chase Utley, who started for Team USA in the inaugural event in 2006, will not be ready to play as he recovers from hip surgery.

Plenty of other Phillies could get the call.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz could represent his native Panama.

J.C. Romero could work out of Puerto Rico's bullpen.

Top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco could be asked to pitch for Venezuela.

National League Championship Series hero Matt Stairs will likely look for fastballs while wearing Team Canada's uniform.

Australia's roster could contain three Phillies prospects, catcher Joel Naughton, pitcher Drew Naylor, and infielder Brad Harman.

The 16-team tournament begins March 5, with the finals scheduled for March 23 at Dodger Stadium.

Preliminary 45-man rosters will be announced Jan. 19. Final 28-man rosters will be announced Feb. 24.

Players who are selected will leave their clubs for about a week of training before the event begins. Players will not return to their major-league clubs until their country is eliminated or the tournament ends.

"It makes it a little tough to get ready in spring training, but it's an honor to play in this event," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I thought baseball did a nice job with it [in 2006] and this year's will be even better."

Some big-league teams are leery of letting their pitchers participate. WBC teams must carry a minimum of 13 pitchers to prevent overwork.

"We wouldn't hold anyone back if they wanted to participate," Amaro said. "This is something we support."

Team USA, which will be managed by Davey Johnson and captained by New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, will train at the Phillies' complex in Clearwater on March 2 and play an exhibition game against the Phils at Bright House Field on March 5. The Phils will host the Canadian team March 4.

Team USA opens play in the tournament against Canada on March 7 in Toronto.


Contact staff writer Jim Salisbury at 215-854-4983 or jsalisbury@phillynews.com.

|
|
|
|
|