Melvin Mora announced he is pulling out of the World Baseball Classic, citing his contract status with the Orioles and the Venezuelan national team's decision to move him from third base to the outfield for next month's inaugural event.
Carlos Zambrano was the Chicago Cubs' Opening Day starter last year, but he may not be able to repeat in 2006 because he is pitching for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. "He's the leader [to be the Opening Day starter]," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Sunday. "But a lot of it depends on how he comes out of the World, and if we can get him on a schedule."
On Thursday, Humberto Oropeza, Committee Director for The Venezuelan Baseball Federation, announced a group of 35 players from which the final 30-man Venezuelan team roster for the World Baseball Classic will be chosen.
Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel will represent his native Venezuela in next month's World Baseball Classic, something he calls "the opportunity of a lifetime." Vizquel, the Venezuelan team's captain last wore his country's uniform as a 10-year-old in the Little League World Series.
A lighter, leaner Carlos Zambrano is eager to represent his native Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. "I'm ready for it," Zambrano said Wednesday after arriving at the Chicago Cubs' Fitch Park facility. "I came from Venezuela and the nice weather, and I have been working at the Cubs academy there. I'll take it easy, but I will pitch like I know how to pitch."
Team Venezuela's World Baseball Classic mini-camp concluded on Monday and manager Luis Sojo is now faced with putting his final roster together.
While just a handful of the 60 eligible players for Team Venezuela showed up at this weekend's tryouts, skipper Luis Sojo has been pleased with the workouts, saying it helped him make roster decisions for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Planning to use 13 to 15 pitchers and taking into account the pitch counts at the World Baseball Classic, Venezuela manager Luis Sojo and pitching coach Roberto Espinosa are looking to pair up starting pitchers to get the club into the late innings.
Fresh of a Caribbean Series title, Venezuela's team is quite conifdent as camp begins in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Manager Luis Sojo and coach Dave Concepcion have plenty of reason to be excited.
Venezuela won its first Caribbean Series title since 1989 the hard way. They earned it. The club finished a perfect 6-0 in round-robin play, including two wins against the Dominican Republic, and the statistics tell the story.