Five St. Louis Cardinals players will soon be taking leave from the club’s spring training camps to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Major Leaguers are catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Carlos Beltran of Puerto Rico, right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs with USA and right-handed reliever Fernando Salas from Mexico. Double-A right-handed pitcher Richard Castillo will be competing for Spain.
At this point, it is unclear whether Beltran’s toe injury suffered on Thursday will affect his participation plans. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is hoping Molina will play some first base for Puerto Rico instead of catching throughout. (Update: A Saturday report has Beltran leaving Cardinals camp for the event.)
The time away from Jupiter for the Cardinals’ five participants will depend upon how far their countries advance.
The WBC games will be played through March 19 with the first one starting late Friday night, Australia at Taiwan. All 39 contests will be televised on MLB Network.
Pool A: Brazil, China, Cuba, Japan (defending champion) / at Fukuoka, Japan / March 2-6
Pool B: Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Netherlands / at Taichung, Taiwan / March 1-5
Pool C: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela / at San Juan, PR / March 7-10
Pool D: Canada, Italy, Mexico, United States / at Phoenix / March 7-10
There is a 15-run rule after five innings and a 10-run rule after seven innings that would mean an early game end in the first two rounds.
The two teams with the highest winning percentages in each pool advance to the second round.
Pool 1: Pool A and B winners / Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan / March 7-12
Pool 2: Pool C and D winners / Marlins Park, Miami / March 12-16
The second round is a double-elimination format with six total games in each pool.
The sixth and final game in each pool will have a team with a 2-0 record against a 2-1 team.
Semi-finals / AT&T Park, San Francisco / March 17-18
Championship / AT&T Park, San Francisco / March 19
The semi-finals and final will be single-elimination.
Link to full schedule details. You can also find team rosters and other information while at the official WBC website.
Though the WBC is an irritation to some in the US due to its disruption of spring training camps, it is considered important to foster the globalization of the game. From the proceeds of the 2009 WBC, a prize pool of $14 million was distributed to the teams and another $15 million went to the participating federations and the International Baseball Federation.