The Cuban Baseball Federation announced its 24-man final roster for the upcoming 38th IBAF Baseball World Cup in Europe on Wednesday. They hope to recapture the championship after losing the finals in 2007 against Team USA. Since then they only were able to win the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam this summer, but lost the finals in the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week and the 2008 Olympics and were eliminated during the semi-finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
The World Cup team is led by veteran catcher Ariel Pestano, who will retire after the tournament. Also making the trip to Europe are infielders Yulieski Gourriel and Hector Olivera, outfielders Frederich Cepeda (new captain of the team) and Alfredo Despaigne, and pitchers Pedro Lazo, Norge Luis Vera and Maikel Folch among others. Esteban Lombillo will serve as the manager for the first time.
Before starting into the Baseball World Cup on September 10th against Puerto Rico, Cuba will take part in the Italian Baseball Week from September 3rd to 6th with Venezuela, Taiwan and Italy. Afterwards the team travels to Barcelona, Spain for Pool B at the World Cup. Besides Puerto Rico, they will also face Spain and South Africa in the first round.
Catchers: Ariel Pestano, Eriel Sanchez and Yosvani Peraza
Infielders: Ariel Borrero, Jose Dariel Abreu, Hector Olivera, Yulieski Gourriel, Michel Enríquez, Luis Miguel Navas and Yorbis Borroto
Outfielders: Frederich Cepeda, Alfredo Despaigne, Yoennis Céspedes, Giorvis Duvergel and Leonys Martín
Pitchers: Pedro Luis Lazo, Norge Luis Vera, Maikel Folch, Vladimir García, Freddy Asiel Alvarez, Yadier Pedroso, Yulieski Gonzalez, Jonder Martínez and Miguel Alfredo González