Two St. Louis Cardinals players, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina, plan to represent Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic to be held in March. Left-hander Jaime Garcia was announced as a member of Team Mexico.
Full rosters for the 16-team World Baseball Classic will be released in mid-January, with other Cardinals expected to participate.
Former Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt is returning as manager, reprising his role the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 and again in 2009. Whitt will head a veteran staff that includes two coaches with Cardinals ties, Larry Walker (hitting/first base coach) and Stubby Clapp.
These coaches, with the exception of additions Clapp and Quantrill, also led Canada to victory at its World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Germany last September. The Canadians defeated the Czech Republic, Great Britain and the hosts.
Clapp, whose number is retired by the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, made his Team Canada coaching debut at the 2011 IBAF World Cup in Panama, helping them bring home the bronze medal. After having been a hitting coach in the minors, Clapp spent the 2012 season as manager of the Tri-City ValleyCats, the New York-Penn league affiliate of the Houston Astros.
Among Walker’s many awards are his inductions into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Cooperstown remains a distant future possibility. In 2011, the former outfielder’s first year of eligibility, he received 118 votes. That represented 20.3 percent of writers’ ballots cast, with 75 percent required for entry.
Those Canadians and Cardinals fans hoping to see Walker and Clapp in Florida in March may be disappointed. Canada has been placed in Pool D competing in Arizona. For that reason, Team Canada will be training in Cactus League territory this spring.
Only if they can advance to the second round past the USA, Mexico and Italy would the Canadians play in Florida. Host Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will join Venezuela and Spain in Pool C.
One of the two WBC semi-finals, with the winners of Pools C and D meeting, will be held in Marlins Park in Miami from March 12-16. The finals are scheduled March 17-19 in San Francisco.