News about the World Baseball Classic and the World Baseball Classic Qualifier intensify. The biggest item in the last couple of days is probably the fact that two-time World Series winner Johnny Damon is going to play for Thailand at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Taipei City next month. His mother is from that country and he will give his team some star power in competition with Chinese Taipei, the Philippines and New Zealand.
Meanwhile New Zealand has announced its provisional roster for the WBC Qualifier. 13 of the 25 names have or will be playing professionally. Three more players will be added prior to the tournament from November 15 to 18. Daniel Lamb-Hunt of the German club Bonn Capitals is as well on the roster as recent MLB signees Te Wera Bishop, Boss Moanaroa (both Boston Red Sox) and Daniel Devonshire (Toronto Blue Jays). They will play a total of four exhibition games in Australia against the Canberra Cavalry and the Sydney Blue Sox to finish off preparations.
In Panama Rod Carew Stadium itself is finishing up preparations, as Murray Cook supervises the renovation of the drainage and the field. Panama probably will have Ramiro Mendoza on the roster. The 40-year-old Major League veteran, who played for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox wants to pitch for his home country. On the other hand Bruce Chen, Randall Delgado and Luis Durango won’t play.
Colombia has also published a preliminary roster featuring Edgar Renteria, Julio Teheran, Ernesto Fieri, Jose Quintana and Donovan and Jonathan Solano. Eduardo Perez will be the manager with Marino Duncan being the bench coach. Dennis Martinez once again will coach Nicaragua, which has Vicente Padilla, Ersamo Ramirez, former Italian Baseball Leaguer Gustavo Martinez and Everth Cabrera on the provisional roster.
Looking forward to the main event of the 2013 World Baseball Classic Mexico has selected 65 potential players for their roster. Manager Rick Renteria can choose between 41 pitchers, just four catchers, and 24 position players. Most of the players are from the big leagues, headed by Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garca, Dan Haren, Adrian Gonzalez, Michael Young, Evan Longoria and Andre Ethier. Mexico faces Team USA, Italy and a Qualifier in Round 1 of the World Baseball Classic in Phoenix, Arizona.
Taking a look at the Netherlands, Wladimir Balentien expressed his interest to play for the Dutch team in the World Baseball Classic. The 28-year-old outfielder is smacking homerun after homerun for the Yakult Swallows in Nippon Professional Baseball since the 2011 season and surely should be in consideration by new manager Hensley Meulens.