Results tagged ‘ World Baseball Classic ’

No Hart on Team USA

USA Baseball today named Nationals outfielder Adam Dunn to replace the injured Brad Hawpe in the World Baseball Classic.

Officials met Saturday night to discuss their options, and Milwaukee’s Corey Hart was one of the names brought up because, like Hawpe, he is a right fielder. But Hart hits right-handed, and Team USA apparently favored another lefty hitter to replace Hawpe.

Like I wrote yesterday, it might have been a moot point. Hart said he preferred to remain in Brewers camp to prepare for the season, a topic he talks about in a story about to hit Brewers.com.

Could Hart get a Classic call?

A number of fans e-mailed me this morning wondering whether Corey Hart might be considered as a replacement for Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe on Team USA’s roster for the World Baseball Classic. The wishy-washy answer is maybe, but probably not.

Here’s what we do know: Hawpe is out with a hand injury, and USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler said he would meet with Team USA manager Davey Johnson and other officials on Saturday night in Tampa to decide how to replace him.

One option is Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who was on the preliminary roster but declined a spot on the final roster because he didn’t think he would get enough playing time. But according to Seiler, the rules allow teams to add up to five players who weren’t on the preliminary roster if they are replacing someone who is injured, and Hart will at least be in the conversation.

“Corey Hart is a good name, and we will throw that on the table when we talk,” Seiler said before boarding his flight to Florida.

One issue is that Hawpe bats left-handed, and Johnson may want another lefty bat in the lineup. There’s also the very important matter of whether Hart would be interested, and on Saturday at lunchtime, the answer was no.

“I think I’d rather stay here and get my work in,” he said.

Mark this in the category of “pure speculation,” but I wonder if Hart would have a different answer to Johnson or Seiler if a real opportunity presented itself. This entire post could be a moot point if USA Baseball opts to approach someone else.

Ryan Braun, meanwhile, is looking forward to his stint with Team USA. He just told me he plans to play all nine innings against the Angels today, and will depart tomorrow for Tampa to join his American teammates. Considering how thin the U.S. outfield ranks have suddenly become, Braun should have no trouble at all getting at-bats in the tournament. 
 

Gallardo: 'No Classic for me'

There were no surprises when Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo gathered reporters around his locker on Saturday morning.

“No Classic for me,” he said.

Gallardo, Milwaukee’s ace in the making, decided to pass on a chance to play for Mexico in next month’s World Baseball Classic to protect the health of his knees. Gallardo suffered injuries to both knees last season and each required surgery, limiting him to four regular-season starts and two appearances in the playoffs.

“I just think it’s a good decision for me given being injured last year. Of course, I would have loved to go, and hopefully the opportunity will be there the next time around. But after thinking about it, things didn’t go the way I wanted them to last year and I really want to focus on what’s best for me and what’s best for the [Brewers].”

Gallardo informed Mexican legend Vinny Castilla of his decision on Friday night. Castillo is managing Team Mexico this year.

Gallardo’s decision means that only three members of big league camp will leave on March 1 to participate in the tournament. Ryan Braun will play for the U.S., and pitcher Mark DiFelice and catcher Vinny Rottino will play for Italy.

Eric Gagne, Alex Periard and R.J. Swindle passed on a chance to pitch for Team Canada (Periard because of shoulder tightness and Gagne and Swindle because they need to win a Brewers roster spot), and Jorge Julio declined Venezuela’s invitation to pitch. Bill Castro, who served as the pitching coach for the Dominican Republic in the inaugural Classic in 2006, also passed this time because the Brewers elevated him from bullpen coach to pitching coach for the coming season.

Gagne withdraws from Classic

Following his head instead of his heart, Eric Gagne reluctantly pulled out of the World Baseball Classic to focus on winning a job in the Brewers bullpen.

Gagne was on the provisional roster for Team Canada and wanted to play in the tournament, but that would mean departing Maryvale Baseball Park on March 1 and missing at minimum a week of camp. Canada plays in Pool C with the U.S., Venezuela and Italy and has a decent chance to advance past the first round, which would extend Gagne’s absence even longer.

That would have complicated things for the Brewers, who have to place Gagne on the 40-man roster by March 25 or offer him free agency. Gagne discussed his options with fellow Canuck and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who passed along word to Canadian officials that Gagne would stay in Phoenix.

Gagne, by the way, joined the legion of Brewers to undergo Lasik surgery over the winter, so we won’t see him trying to un-fog those goggles this season. Third baseman Bill Hall and pitcher Chris Capuano underwent similar procedures, joining catcher Jason Kendall, who did it last year.

Speaking of the Classic, there’s no official word yet from Yovani Gallardo, who is on Mexico’s provisional roster but has not formally decided whether he will play. Rosters for the tournament must be finalized by Tuesday.
 

Gallardo still mulling Classic

I had a chance to talk with right-hander Yovani Gallardo today about his upcoming decision about the World Baseball Classic, and he’s torn. On one hand, he wants badly to represent his country. On the other, he had two knee surgeries last year and missed much of the season with a torn right ACL.

Rosters must be set by Feb. 24, and it sounded to me like Gallardo is leaning toward passing on the tournament. You can decide for yourself by reading his comments:

“Obviously, my main focus is to pitch the whole year for the Milwaukee Brewers,” Gallardo said Sunday, when Brewers pitchers and catchers went through their first workout at Maryvale Baseball Park.

“It is tough,” he added. “The opportunity to go out there and play for your country, I’ve never had that opportunity. But from here on out, I have to think of what’s best for myself and [the Brewers].

On a sit-down with club officials that will probably take place this week:

“It’s one of those things that we’re going to have to sit down and discuss,” Gallardo said. “Being hurt last year, it’s one of the things I think about most. I’ll have answer here in the next week or so. It’s a difficult decision.”

On a side note, it appears that Brewers pitcher Mark DiFelice and catcher Vinny Rottino will be the starting battery for Italy’s World Baseball Classic opener against Venezuela. 

 

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