After months of qualifying rounds, speculation, and injury scares the official rosters for the fourth World Baseball Classic were released and the Red Sox are sending four of their own to represent their respective countries.
Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic), Eduardo Rodriguez (Venezuela), and Fernando Abad (Dominican Republic) will all leave the club to play for national pride.
We've got a few reasons to be invested in #WBC2017! https://t.co/uzgfw1nTBe pic.twitter.com/Myi4GmJKoI— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) February 9, 2017
In addition, a couple of minor-leaguers will be playing. Daniel McGrath — who has spent the last two years with Salem — will pitch for Australia. Mike Myers — who was also in Salem last year — will be playing for Israel.
Pablo Sandoval, who had been considering participating - and did play for Venezuela during the 2013 WBC - finally decided against it. After missing nearly all of the 2016 season, getting up to speed during spring training will give Sandoval a familiar routine to ease his transition back to regular play. Of course, perhaps facing tougher competition in a tournament environment would have been helpful for the Panda too, maybe more so, but that’s not going to happen.
Rodriguez, of course, has been dealing with injuries on and off for the last year and his participation had raised some eyebrows over the last few months. However playing in the WBC may not be a hinderance after all.
Two memebers of the last two Red Sox World Series teams are also getting their cleats back out. Coming out of retirement for the WBC, and playing for Team Canada, are Eric Gagne and Ryan Dempster!
In fact, nearly every team in the tournament has a player formerly associated with the Red Sox.
Looking quickly, looks like current or former Red Sox (incl. minor leaguers) on every WBC team but Japan & Cuba so far.— Chris Hatfield (@SPChrisHatfield) February 9, 2017
The fun begins on March 6th, will you be watching?