The fourth World Baseball Classic tournament will take place in March and MLB players are finalizing their decision to play or sit this one out. Red Sox players from David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia to Daisuke Matsuzaka and Adam Stern to Wily Mo Pena and Lenny DiNardo have played for their country in the past. For Matsuzaka, the 2006 tournament was his introduction to most of the baseball-watching population of the planet. He took home MVP honors in both 2006 and 2009 helping Japan win the first two tournaments.
We already knew that the Red Sox aces - David Price, Chris Sale, and Rick Porcello - had ruled out appearing on the world stage but Eduardo Rodriguez was hoping to get his 2017 season off to an early start.
John Farrell at the baseball writers dinner said Eduardo Rodriguez and the rest of the Red Sox starters will not pitch in the WBC.— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) January 19, 2017
However, the lefty, who missed time in 2016 with an injury, won’t be participating in the WBC so that he can better prepare for a role in the Boston rotation as he fights through a knee injury.
Mookie says he will not be playing in the WBC— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) January 19, 2017
The runner-up for AL MVP last season, bowling superstar Mookie Betts, won’t be playing either.
Bogaerts was not thrilled to learn that it takes 15 hours to fly to South Korea.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) January 19, 2017
But Xander Bogaerts will. Although it’s going to be a long flight to join the action at the South Korean branch of the competition.
Source: Craig Kimbrel is not going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. That leaves Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts as Red Sox commits— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) January 19, 2017
Which leaves us with just two Red Sox heading out of Spring Training to play for their country.
While nothing is set in stone, it appears that Pablo Sandoval, who missed nearly all of 2016 after having shoulder surgery, is still considering playing in the WBC. Maybe he wants to test out the shoulder in higher-stress situations? Maybe he feels like he’s already 100%? It’s something to follow either way.