The Cuban team is the first World Baseball Classic participant to announce its final 28-man roster for the upcoming tournament. Peter C. Bjarkman delivered the news on Thursday. Manager Higinio Velez welcomes back ten players from the inaugural WBC in 2006, including Frederich Cepeda, Ariel Pestano, Yuliesky Gourriel and Pedro Lazo. Cuba finished in second place three years ago and once again is one of the favorites to take home first place. They are slotted into Pool B at the Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City and are going to open the competition against South Africa. Mexico and Australia are also in this group. The team departed on Thursday morning to Puebla, Mexico, where they will finish training camp. WBC teams have to submit a final roster until February 24.
Catchers: Ariel Pestano* (Villa Clara), Rolando Meriño (Santiago de Cuba), Yosvany Peraza (Pinar del Río)
Outfielders: Frederich Cepeda* (Sancti Spíritus), Alfredo Despaigne (Granma), Yoennis Céspedes (Granma), Leonys Martin (Villa Clara), Leslie Anderson* (Camagüey)
Infielders: Joan Carlos Pedroso* (Las Tunas), Alexander Mayeta (Industriales), Yulieski Gourriel* (Sancti Spíritus), Eduardo Paret* (Villa Clara), Michel Enríquez* (Isla de la Juventud), Héctor Olivera (Santiago de Cuba), Luis Miguel Navas (Santiago de Cuba)
Pitchers: Right-Handers: Pedro Luis Lazo* (Pinar del Río), Norge Luis Vera (Santiago de Cuba), Yuniesky Maya* (Pinar del Río), Luis Miguel Rodríguez (Holguín), Miguel Lahera (Habana Province), Vladimir García (Ciego de Avila), Ismel Jiménez (Sancti Spíritus), Yolexis Ulacia (Villa Clara), Ciro Silvino Licea (Granma), Dany Betancourt (Santiago de Cuba). Left-Handers: Aroldis Chapman (Holguín), Yunieski González* (Habana Province), Norberto González* (Cienfuegos)
Coaches: Higinio Vélez (Manager), Benito Camacho (General Manager), Francisco Escaurido, Carlos Cepero, Lourdes Gourriel, Pedro Pérez, Eduardo Martin, Humberto Arrieta, Jorge Fuentes
(*denotes 2006 World Baseball Classic participation)