If you’re talking about the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Taiwan, there is one clear-cut favorite with Chinese Taipei. The rest of the field with the Philippines, Thailand and New Zealand are considered underdogs. But it could get much more interesting, as they don’t go down without trying. Thanks to an article by The Philippine Star we get to know some of the Philippine plans.
According to the report they reached out to 20 American players with Philippine ties, including former Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants. He is a long-shot to play in the Qualifier, but others are more realistic. Apparently 8 of the aforementioned 20 have agreed to play for the Philippines including former and current Major League left-handers Geno Espinelli and Clay Rapada.
Others are Edwin Jimenez, Jonathan Laygo of the Fresno White Sox, Andres Vasquez of Rutgers University, William Ireton of the East L.A. Dodgers, Trent Garrison of the Los Angeles Angels, Kurt Rathjens and Devon Bryce Ramirez of California State-Dominguez. Also in consideration for a spot on the roster are Darwin de la Calzada, Jonash Ponce, Alfredo Olivarez, Matt Laurel and Carlos Munoz.
The Philippines will face Thailand in the WBC Qualifier opener on November 15. Chinese Taipei and New Zealand will square off in the evening. The winner of this tournament will play either in Pool A (Fukuoka) or Pool B (Taichung) in the first round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.