The World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in Taipei City and Panama City will start in 15 days. The Philippines have finalized their roster this Wednesday, but won’t announce it until November 7 to keep a competitive advantage. Some news however is known thanks to an article by InterAksyon. They will ask World Series champion Tim Lincecum about his participation.
Fellow Major Leaguer Clay Rapada had to withdraw his due to personal reason. So far the biggest name on the roster seems to be Gino Espineli, who also looks back at a couple of MLB games. The Philippines will be led by manager Jim Ramos and coaches Bill Thomas and Billy Champion.
New Zealand meanwhile has started training camp and will play a couple of exhibition games against Australian Baseball League teams prior to departing for Taipei. They will meet with Chinese Taipei in the opener, as the Philippines take on Thailand in the WBC Qualifier from November 15 to 18.
In Panama not only Rod Carew Stadium sees its final touches, but also Panama’s roster. A provisional roster was released these days, which has a couple of big names on it. Injured New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and Houston Astros slugger Carlos Lee lead the squad. The question remains who will be eventually on the final roster.